Sunday, May 26, 2013

Motion "IQ" and haptic pronunciation teaching

Clip art: 
A few decades back, the distinction between field independence and field dependence was investigated extensively in this field and others. (Several previous blogposts report often seemingly contradictory findings.) A new study reported by Science Daily, by by Melnick, Harrison, Park, Bennetto and Tadin, at the University of Rochester, on the relationship between general intelligence and ability to suppress some types of background motion in the visual field adds a new "wrinkle."

They found a striking correlation between IQ and ability to screen out small, background moving "clutter" and score on a standard IQ test. Even more surprisingly, according to the authors, they discovered that the high "IQ" subjects were correspondingly much worse at detecting large background shifts in the visual field itself. (According to the article, you can even test yourself on motion "IQ" with this YouTube video!)

Translation/relevance: Whether you are high or low IQ, being able to function in a non-distracting visual field makes you functionally more intelligent! (Being sensitive to movement of the larger field has been indirectly related to general empathy and relational awareness, which is also a good idea in language learning.)

In haptic pronunciation teaching, that principle is paramount. In the classroom, when doing haptic work  (movement-plus-touch) related to sound learning and change, visual distraction must be limited as much as possible. Anything that pulls the eyes and attention away from the pedagogical movement pattern can potentially "kill" or greatly limit the effectiveness of the haptic anchor in associating the gesture with the sound.

The design and format and background of the AH-EPS haptic video system is centered on that same concept: (a) black background, (b) clean, uncluttered movement, and (c) careful management of placement in the visual field. (For example, it is important to stay as close to the center of the visual field for general ease of maintaining attention and control.)

Just a little background for you there . . . and I mean a LITTLE!

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