- 29 May 1999,
You report that reversing 50-millisecond segments of recorded sound does not
greatly affect listeners' ability to understand speech (In Brief, 1 May, p
This reminds me of my PhD at Nottingham University (1976), which showed that
randomising letters in the middle of words had little or no effect on the
ability of skilled readers to understand the text. Indeed one rapid reader
noticed only four or five errors in an A4 page of muddled text.
This is easy to denmtrasote. In a puiltacibon of New Scnieitst you
could ramdinose all the letetrs, keipeng the first two and last two the same,
and reibadailty would hadrly be aftcfeed. My ansaylis did not come to much
beucase the thoery at the time was for shape and senqeuce retigcionon. Saberi's
work sugsegts we may have some pofrweul palrlael prsooscers at work.
The resaon for this is suerly that idnetiyfing coentnt by paarllel prseocsing
speeds up regnicoiton. We only need the first and last two letetrs to spot
chganes in meniang.