What is surprise?

Rethink Speech makes use of funny, surprising demonstrations to help you unlearn commonly held false beliefs about the nature of speech and how it works.

To get the most out of these demonstrations, it is worth addressing a question you may not have thought about explicitly yet: What is surprise?

Surprise comes when expectations are violated

Now sometimes, things happen that we simply could never have expected.

Read the rest now >>>

A philosophical question – with many delicious layers

If you don’t know Afferbeck Lauder, you should. He was the inventor, or should we say the observer, of strine. Strine is a kind of rendition in spelling of the sound of a very broad Australian English accent. Here’s one of Afferbeck’s less well known pieces, an existential cry of a kind familiar to many teenage (or middle-aged) insomniacs – which also offers a wonderful philosophical insight into the nature of speech and how we understand it.

Read the rest now >>>

Using the surprises: Uncovering the hidden tenets of the c-a-t theory

The surprise that makes the demonstrations in this module humorous comes from the fact that the very same stretch of speech can be interpreted in radically different ways depending on the mindset we bring to it.

Why is that surprising?

Well, because it violates something we think we know for sure about speech, namely, that speech is something objective, ‘there to be heard’, the same for everyone who listens to it.

Read the rest now >>>

‘Isn’t this all just cognitive bias?’ Maybe there’s a better way to think about it…

The concept of cognitive bias, most famously confirmation bias, has become very well known in recent decades, especially through research in behavioural economics.

Now cognitive bias is a real and important phenomenon. But it can be used too readily to ‘explain away’ phenomena like those that arise in the study of speech, by attributing them all to subconscious bias, or ‘tricks’ played by our brains.

Read the rest now >>>