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【科普】Actions Speak Louder in Words

If you've ever tried to speak to someone who doesn't share your native tongue, you could probably intuit a bit of what they were saying just by how they said it. Anger, happiness, and even confusion traverse the language barrier quite well. Now a new study shows that emotions aren't the only information that piggybacks on our speech: We subconsciously convey important details about the objects around us just by verbally describing them.
Language is largely symbolic--most of the time we use our words to convey ideas. But how we say something can be as important as what we say: "Hey man, nice car!" spoken with enthusiasm carries a much different connotation than when spoken with sarcasm. But can we communicate other information with our speech patterns, such as where the car is or where it's going?

To find out, psychologist Howard Nusbaum and colleagues at the University of Chicago asked 24 college students to describe a dot moving across a screen. The students were told to use one of two sentences: "It is going up" or "It is going down." The team found that when students described the dots going up, the pitch of their voice was, on average, 6 hertz higher than that of those describing the dot going down. The same thing happened when another 24 students read the sentences from a computer screen, indicating people change the sound of their voice according to directional information contained within words. In another experiment, the researchers changed the speed of the dots; they found that, when describing the dots, the students spoke faster when the dots moved faster.

But do listeners pick up on these verbal cues? The team tested this by having volunteers listen to recordings of the students who participated in the dot speed experiment. The volunteers accurately predicted whether the dot was moving fast or slow 63% of the time, indicating they were gathering information about the dots' velocity from the speed at which the sentence was spoken. Changing the speed or pitch of a word may be analogous to hand gestures (holding your hand at hip's height to indicate how tall a kid is, for example), says Nusbaum, who refers to the voice modulation as "spoken gestures." The team reports its results in the August issue of the Journal of Memory and Language.

Scientists have overlooked spoken gestures, says cognitive psychologist Rolf Zwaan of Florida State University in Tallahassee. They are important, he says, because "even if I didn't speak the language, I could pick up something about what's going on based on how the words are spoken." Psychologist Art Glenberg of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, adds that the finding "relates human communication to other neural systems that we know other animals use." For example, one monkey screech indicates an eagle attacking from above, and another screech a snake from below. 假如你曾经尝试对那些不会你母语的人讲话吗?你可能凭直觉只是通过他们是如何说的就知道一点他们说得什么了。愤怒、高兴、甚至横跨语言间非常好的混淆。现在新的研究表明情绪不是我们说话背后的唯一信息:我们下意识的传达了只是通过口头描述有关我们周围物体的重要细节。
为了找到(这里面的规律),芝加哥大学的心理学者Howard Nusbaum和同事要求24名大学学生描述一个横过屏幕上的点。告诉学生用下面两种句子:“它正在上升”或“它正在下降。”研究发现当学生们描述点上升时,他们声音的音调平均比那些描述下降时高6赫兹。同样的事情发生在当另24 名学生根据电脑屏幕上点读句子时,表明人们根据包含在词语中的指向性信息改变他们嗓音的声音。在另一个实验中,研究人员改变了点移动的速度;他们发现当描述点时,随着点移动变快学生们的说话加快。
位于塔拉哈西的佛罗里达州立大学认知心里学者Rolf Zwaan 说科学家们忽略了口语姿态。他说,口语姿态是重要的,因为“即使我不会说这种语言,我也能根据如何说这些言语的语气判别正在发生的某些信息”威斯康辛州大学的心里学家Art Glenberg ,Madison,补充说该发现“将人类交流和其他我们知道的其他动物中使用的中立系统联系起来。“比如,一种猴子尖叫声象征老鹰从上面攻击,另一种尖叫声显示有蛇从下方袭击。




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作者:admin@医学,生命科学    2011-02-19 17:11