Al Bregman's Comments on April 29 Concerning Dichotic Verbal (Richard M Warren )

Subject: Al Bregman's Comments on April 29 Concerning Dichotic Verbal
From:    Richard M Warren  <rmwarren(at)CSD.UWM.EDU>
Date:    Fri, 2 May 1997 16:40:46 -0500

Dear Al: I agree with your analysis that serial processing could not explain the independent verbal transformations heard with dichotic stimulation involving the same word delivered with a 1/2 period delay to the two ears. As you say, there must be a preattentive stage that operates on concurrent auditory streams in parallel. The problem is -- if there is a problem -- that it seems to conflict with the conventional view that we have a single engram, cell assembly, node, or whatever, acting as the final stage for identifying a particular word. I don't believe that it is necessary to extract phonetic categories, as you suggest, to hear illusory words. The reason I say this is because the words reported by adult monolingual English speakers are almost always syllables that are themselves English words or that occur in English words. The direct accessing of an English syllabary would be a simple explanation of this. Finally, I concur with your expectation that any two segregated speech streams, even when appearing at the same location, would be subject to independent verbal transformations when repeated. Indeed, some unpublished observations Jim Bashford made with concurrent high-pass and low-pass speech confirmed this effect. Best regards, Dick

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