Sunday, November 4, 2012

Anchoring pronunciation: Do you see what you are saying?

Clip art: Clker
Clip art: Clker
You can, in fact--if you are pronouncing a sound, word or phrase using EHIEP-like pedagogical movement patterns, PMPs (gestures across the visual field terminating in some form of touch by both hands.) Not only CAN you, according to research by Xi and colleagues at Northwestern University, summarized by Science Daily, but your eyes strongly interpret for you the "feeling of how it happens." The visual "character" of the dynamic gesture (its positioning, fluidity, distance from the eyes and texture on contact with the other hand) may well override the actual tactile feedback from your hands and proprioceptic "coordinates" of movement from your arms.

In the study, subjects were simultaneously presented with video clips that slightly contradicted what their hands and arms were doing. It was clearly demonstrated that even though subjects were also instructed to ignore the video and concentrate on the actual positioning, movement and related information about touch and weight coming from the hands, the "eyes have it." What they were seeing reinterpreted the other incoming sensory data.

As noted in earlier posts, visual can often override other modalities. What is "new" here and contributes to our understanding of how and why haptic-integration works is that the subjects' perception of the EHIEP sound-touch-movement "event" would appear to be strongly influenced by the style or flair or precision and consistency of the PMP. That has been one of key problems in creating the video models: insufficient clarity and consistency in the execution of PMPs (by me!)

This is both good news and bad news. Good, in that the PMP is, indeed, a potentially a very powerful anchor--and that the visual "feel" of each can contribute substantially to anchoring effectiveness. Bad, in that for maximal effectiveness the video/visual model needs to be exceedingly precise and consistent. (I have explored the use of Avatars instead of me but there are even bigger potential issues there.) Preparing/getting in shape now to do a new set of videos after the holidays, based on this and simular research. Can't wait to see what those feel like!

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