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Iconicity can ground the creation of vocal symbols.

Perlman M, Dale R, Lupyan G - R Soc Open Sci (2015)

Bottom Line: Yet, we know little about how people create vocal communication systems, and many have suggested that vocalizations do not afford iconicity beyond trivial instances of onomatopoeia.People's ability to guess the meanings of these novel vocalizations was predicted by how close the vocalization was to an iconic 'meaning template' we derived from the production data.These results strongly suggest that the meaningfulness of these vocalizations derived from iconicity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology , University of Wisconsin-Madison , Madison, WI, USA.

ABSTRACT
Studies of gestural communication systems find that they originate from spontaneously created iconic gestures. Yet, we know little about how people create vocal communication systems, and many have suggested that vocalizations do not afford iconicity beyond trivial instances of onomatopoeia. It is unknown whether people can generate vocal communication systems through a process of iconic creation similar to gestural systems. Here, we examine the creation and development of a rudimentary vocal symbol system in a laboratory setting. Pairs of participants generated novel vocalizations for 18 different meanings in an iterative 'vocal' charades communication game. The communicators quickly converged on stable vocalizations, and naive listeners could correctly infer their meanings in subsequent playback experiments. People's ability to guess the meanings of these novel vocalizations was predicted by how close the vocalization was to an iconic 'meaning template' we derived from the production data. These results strongly suggest that the meaningfulness of these vocalizations derived from iconicity. Our findings illuminate a mechanism by which iconicity can ground the creation of vocal symbols, analogous to the function of iconicity in gestural communication systems.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Confusions made for each of the meanings during the playback experiments. The y-axis displays the meaning of the sound that was presented, and the x-axis displays the meaning that was selected. The ordering of meanings in each matrix was determined by a norming experiment that collected similarity ratings between each possible pair of meanings, with more similar words placed closer together. Warmer colours indicate more frequent choices. (a) Results from the first batch and (b) from the second batch in the playback experiment. Warmer colours gravitate along the diagonal, showing that listeners tended to select the correct response or a meaning that was similar to it. The results from the follow-up experiment with more and less iconic stimuli are shown in (c) and (d), respectively. Warmer colours gravitate along the diagonal for more iconic stimuli, but responses for less iconic stimuli appear more random.
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RSOS150152F5: Confusions made for each of the meanings during the playback experiments. The y-axis displays the meaning of the sound that was presented, and the x-axis displays the meaning that was selected. The ordering of meanings in each matrix was determined by a norming experiment that collected similarity ratings between each possible pair of meanings, with more similar words placed closer together. Warmer colours indicate more frequent choices. (a) Results from the first batch and (b) from the second batch in the playback experiment. Warmer colours gravitate along the diagonal, showing that listeners tended to select the correct response or a meaning that was similar to it. The results from the follow-up experiment with more and less iconic stimuli are shown in (c) and (d), respectively. Warmer colours gravitate along the diagonal for more iconic stimuli, but responses for less iconic stimuli appear more random.

Mentions: While our main accuracy analyses code accuracy in a discrete way (correct/incorrect), not all errors are the same. For example, confusing ‘attractive’ and ‘good’ may be thought to be a smaller error than confusing ‘attractive’ and ‘far’. To obtain this more continuous error measure, we collected meaning-similarity ratings from a new group of participants. For each of the unique word-pairs, 10 participants indicated the degree to which they were ‘completely different in meaning’ versus ‘almost identical in meaning’ (1–7 Likert scale). Analyses with this continuous error measure mirrored all the results we obtained with the discrete measure. The results depicted in figure 5 rely on the continuous error measure to sort the rows and columns by rated semantic similarity.


Iconicity can ground the creation of vocal symbols.

Perlman M, Dale R, Lupyan G - R Soc Open Sci (2015)

Confusions made for each of the meanings during the playback experiments. The y-axis displays the meaning of the sound that was presented, and the x-axis displays the meaning that was selected. The ordering of meanings in each matrix was determined by a norming experiment that collected similarity ratings between each possible pair of meanings, with more similar words placed closer together. Warmer colours indicate more frequent choices. (a) Results from the first batch and (b) from the second batch in the playback experiment. Warmer colours gravitate along the diagonal, showing that listeners tended to select the correct response or a meaning that was similar to it. The results from the follow-up experiment with more and less iconic stimuli are shown in (c) and (d), respectively. Warmer colours gravitate along the diagonal for more iconic stimuli, but responses for less iconic stimuli appear more random.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4555852&req=5

RSOS150152F5: Confusions made for each of the meanings during the playback experiments. The y-axis displays the meaning of the sound that was presented, and the x-axis displays the meaning that was selected. The ordering of meanings in each matrix was determined by a norming experiment that collected similarity ratings between each possible pair of meanings, with more similar words placed closer together. Warmer colours indicate more frequent choices. (a) Results from the first batch and (b) from the second batch in the playback experiment. Warmer colours gravitate along the diagonal, showing that listeners tended to select the correct response or a meaning that was similar to it. The results from the follow-up experiment with more and less iconic stimuli are shown in (c) and (d), respectively. Warmer colours gravitate along the diagonal for more iconic stimuli, but responses for less iconic stimuli appear more random.
Mentions: While our main accuracy analyses code accuracy in a discrete way (correct/incorrect), not all errors are the same. For example, confusing ‘attractive’ and ‘good’ may be thought to be a smaller error than confusing ‘attractive’ and ‘far’. To obtain this more continuous error measure, we collected meaning-similarity ratings from a new group of participants. For each of the unique word-pairs, 10 participants indicated the degree to which they were ‘completely different in meaning’ versus ‘almost identical in meaning’ (1–7 Likert scale). Analyses with this continuous error measure mirrored all the results we obtained with the discrete measure. The results depicted in figure 5 rely on the continuous error measure to sort the rows and columns by rated semantic similarity.

Bottom Line: Yet, we know little about how people create vocal communication systems, and many have suggested that vocalizations do not afford iconicity beyond trivial instances of onomatopoeia.People's ability to guess the meanings of these novel vocalizations was predicted by how close the vocalization was to an iconic 'meaning template' we derived from the production data.These results strongly suggest that the meaningfulness of these vocalizations derived from iconicity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology , University of Wisconsin-Madison , Madison, WI, USA.

ABSTRACT
Studies of gestural communication systems find that they originate from spontaneously created iconic gestures. Yet, we know little about how people create vocal communication systems, and many have suggested that vocalizations do not afford iconicity beyond trivial instances of onomatopoeia. It is unknown whether people can generate vocal communication systems through a process of iconic creation similar to gestural systems. Here, we examine the creation and development of a rudimentary vocal symbol system in a laboratory setting. Pairs of participants generated novel vocalizations for 18 different meanings in an iterative 'vocal' charades communication game. The communicators quickly converged on stable vocalizations, and naive listeners could correctly infer their meanings in subsequent playback experiments. People's ability to guess the meanings of these novel vocalizations was predicted by how close the vocalization was to an iconic 'meaning template' we derived from the production data. These results strongly suggest that the meaningfulness of these vocalizations derived from iconicity. Our findings illuminate a mechanism by which iconicity can ground the creation of vocal symbols, analogous to the function of iconicity in gestural communication systems.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus