Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Humans imitate aspects of speech we see

Date:
August 5, 2010
Source:
University of California - Riverside
Summary:
New research shows that unintentional speech imitation can make us sound like people whose voices we never hear.

Humans are incessant imitators. We unintentionally imitate subtle aspects of each other's mannerisms, postures and facial expressions. We also imitate each other's speech patterns, including inflections, talking speed and speaking style. Sometimes, we even take on the foreign accent of the person to whom we're talking, leading to embarrassing consequences.

Related Articles


New research by the University of California, Riverside, published in the August issue of the journal Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, shows that unintentional speech imitation can even make us sound like people whose voices we never hear. The journal is published by The Psychonomic Society, which promotes scientific research in psychology and allied sciences.

UCR psychology professor Lawrence D. Rosenblum and graduate students Rachel M. Miller and Kauyumari Sanchez found that when people lipread from a talker and say aloud what they've lipread, their speech sounds like that of the talker.

The researchers asked hearing individuals with no formal lipreading experience to watch a silent face articulate 80 simple words, such as tennis and cabbage. Those individuals were asked to identify the words by saying them out loud clearly and quickly. To make the lipreading task easier, the test subjects were given a choice of two words: e.g., tennis or table). They were never asked to imitate or repeat the talker.

Even so, the researchers found that words spoken by the test subjects sounded more like the words of the talker they lipread than did words they spoke when simply reading from a list. That finding is evidence that unintentional speech imitation extends to lipreading, even for normal hearing individuals with no formal lipreading experience, they wrote in a paper titled "Alignment to Visual Speech Information."

"Whether we are hearing or lipreading speech articulations, a talker's speaking style has subtle influences on our own manner of speaking," Rosenblum says. "This unintentional imitation could serve as a social glue, helping us to affiliate and empathize with each other. But it also might reflect deep aspects of the language function. Specifically, it adds to evidence that the speech brain is sensitive to -- and primed by -- speech articulation, whether heard or seen. It also adds to the evidence that a familiar talker's speaking style can help us recognize words."

The research project was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Riverside. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Miller et al. Alignment to visual speech information. Attention Perception & Psychophysics, 2010; 72 (6): 1614 DOI: 10.3758/APP.72.6.1614

Cite This Page:

University of California - Riverside. "Humans imitate aspects of speech we see." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100805103907.htm>.
University of California - Riverside. (2010, August 5). Humans imitate aspects of speech we see. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100805103907.htm
University of California - Riverside. "Humans imitate aspects of speech we see." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100805103907.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is studying the popular Music and Memory program to see if music, which helps improve the mood of Alzheimer's patients, can also reduce the use of prescription drugs for those suffering from dementia. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) Moms and Dads get a more hands-on approach to parenting with tech-centric products for raising their little ones. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) Researchers have come up with another reason why dark chocolate is good for your health. A substance in the treat can reportedly help with memory. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

AFP (Oct. 27, 2014) Coding has become compulsory for children as young as five in schools across the UK. Making it the first major world economy to overhaul its IT teaching and put programming at its core. Duration: 02:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins