Thursday, August 9, 2012

The "truthiness" (or thereabouts) about haptic-integrated pronunciation teaching

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
I have gotten several questions as to why I use clip art and the "left-pointing hand" on blogposts. Other than the obvious, just to "spiff" things up a bit, it turns out that those visuals actually reinforce the "truthiness" of the post.  Newman and colleagues, in research inspired by comedian Stephen Colbert, summarized in Science Daily, report that: "A picture inflates the perceived truth of true and false claims . . . In four different experiments they discovered that people believe claims are true, regardless of whether they actually are true, when a decorative photograph appears alongside the claim." Then, at the conclusion of the summary, in another one for your "Well, duh . . ." or "Ya think?" file, the authors are quoted as observing, "Our research suggests that these photos might have unintended consequences, leading people to accept information because of their feelings rather than the facts." Unintended consequences? I am almost tempted to go back and edit out all the graphics from the last two years--and then have you reread--or ignore many of them, just to check that theory. We could, alternatively, just go back to "pre-haptic-integrated" pronunciation teaching. As noted in several previous blogpost, haptic engagement has been shown believably to at least constrain the influence of visual "clutter" and interference with auditory and somatic anchoring, processing and retrieval. (And, as usual, ignore the hypnotically beautiful, engaging geisha over there to the left . . . or the finger off to the right pointing to the geisha on the left!)

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