Although previous studies have repeatedly shown the bouba/kiki effect that nonsense words including certain sounds are associated with particular shapes (round and sharp objects), the cognitive foundation of the effect still remains unclear because of the use of a very limited number of nonsense words. To clarify the relation between a larger set of speech sounds and visual shapes, we used a 7-point Likert scale to collect the data of roundness-sharpness ratings for Japanese 69 one-mora sounds. Both sighted and vision-impaired Japanese speakers rated the sonorants (/m/, /n/) more roundly than the unvoiced (/t/, /k/, /p/) and the voiced obstruents (/b/ /d/, /g/). Moreover, they rated the unvoiced obstruents more roundly than the voiced obstruents. This is inconsistent with the previous findings from English speakers who rated the voiced obstruents more roundly than the unvoiced obstruents (McCormick et al., 2015), suggesting a cross-linguistic difference in the consonant-roundness relation. The findings are discussed in light of a subtle difference in articulatory or acoustic characters and an orthographic system representing voiced obstruents.
To realize a harmonious society where various groups collaborate, it is essential to understand the characteristics of communication systems generated from the traits of different individuals. This paper describes a study exploring the relationship between the establishment of novel communication systems and autistic traits, which are conventionally viewed as indicative of a communication disorder. The participants engaged in coordination games based on experimental semiotics and completed the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ). Contrary to the traditional view of autistic traits, but consistent with the fact that individuals with these traits have been involved in many societal innovations, the results of this study show that autistic traits can facilitate the establishment of novel communication systems. Furthermore, correlation analysis suggests that various subcategories of autistic traits show differences in their relation to the stages involved in the establishment of communication systems. The findings contribute to our understanding of the process of language evolution and could promote communication among diverse individuals.
Many studies on body representation intend to change the perceived size, material, and structure of the body. However, they focused on the change of a single body part. The human body has a symmetric structure, whose structure could affect the change in body representation. In this study, we focused on the change of both hands and arms in body representation to investigate the following two points. (1) If one hand is trained to change its position in body representation, is the position of another hand in body representation also changed according to the trained hand? (2) Can each hand be trained not to follow the symmetric structure of the body? In our experiment, participants moved their hands to indicated heights observing their hands through a head-mounted display as a training phase, where their hands were displayed at different positions from the actual ones. When we trained the participants’ right hand only, their left hand showed a similar change to the right hand. Meanwhile, when we displayed their hands at positions where did not follow the symmetric structure of the body, they changed their hand position in the body representation as they were trained. Therefore, our study suggested that, in the update process of the symmetric parts in body representation, untrained body parts were updated as their symmetric parts were trained. Whereas, when both symmetric parts were trained, they were updated according to the training content, even if the training was not consistent with their symmetric structure.
Imitation-inhibition training, requiring the inhibition of automatic imitative tendencies, has been proposed to enhance self-other distinction. Previous studies have demonstrated the effect of imitation-inhibition training in the improvement of one’s ability to not only understand others’ visual perspectives but also to empathize with them. We investigated the relationship between training and empathy in the recognition of others’ emotional states. All participants were trained on the first day and completed the self-reported empathy and facial expression recognition task the next day. The task consisted of a facial mimicry restricted block and an unrestricted block. In the restricted block, participants had to hold chopsticks horizontally with their mouths, which interfered with facial mimicry. The facial muscle activity and facial stimuli of participants were different in the restricted block. We found that imitation-inhibition training increased self-reported empathy. With respect to facial expression recognition, the performance of the control group declined due to interference with facial mimicry, while that of the imitation-inhibition training group did not. These results suggest that imitation-inhibition training increases self-reported empathy and allows for a similar level of recognition of others’ emotional states, regardless of discrepancies between the condition of self and others.
This paper reviews research in cognitive linguistics and critically examines it from an ecological perspective. It is pointed out that some misinterpretations of the concept of affordances can be found. Additionally, the problematic consequences of representationalist and subjectivist views of meaning are discussed. As an alternate solution, this paper proposes an ecological semantics perspective based on ecological realism and the concept of human-environment systems. From this perspective, language research incorporating eco-psychological theories in cognitive linguistics can be utilized as a precursor to ecological semantics, turning them towards genuine eco-psychological linguistic research.
The Japanese word rizumu-kan is a common word that somewhat refers to an ability to perceive and recognize rhythm. It could also mean an ability to move rhythmically involving cognition. Although the word is widely used in scientific discourses, it has not been given a straightforward definition. This paper aimed to discuss what the word rizumu-kan encompasses for human cognition and behavior, especially for artistic physical expression in the field of cognitive science. First, we showed that the ambiguity of rizumu-kan comes from the fact that rhythm is ubiquitous on various spatiotemporal scales and that the definition of rhythm varies from one discipline to another. Second, we reviewed and classified scientific studies on rizumu-kan. Finally, to further understand rizumu-kan for artistic physical expression in cognitive science, we propose the following: (1) to put these studies in a broader context where the behavior is situated, and (2) to develop a mixed research method within the framework of ecological psychology while giving some caveats that should be considered in planning and designing such studies.
In this study, we attempted to evaluate the performance of our original instrument, using which children can record and replay sounds by themselves, developed for the purpose of revitalizing a musical program for preschoolers. The theoretical framework behind this attempt was from the perspective of ecological acoustics, which argues that our hearing experience is based on our perception of the dynamics of interaction between agents (e.g., human organisms) and their surroundings. Inspired by this perspective, we explored the possibility of enriching children’s hearing experience in a way that was more than just hearing the sound itself, but also included learning about the ecology of sound with a technological ingenuity. We conducted pilot sessions for preschoolers and asked them to collect sounds using the instrument. Additionally, we conducted a questionnaire survey with a music instructor and a childcare worker who directed the sessions. The results showed that the instrument successfully elicited active behaviors from the children: while using it, all children were enthusiastic about exploring acoustic events (including their own vocalizations) and recording them. Moreover, children listened to their peers’ recorded sounds with concentration. The questionnaire survey also indicated that the instrument was favorably accepted by the children and had the potential to be an educational tool. From these results, we concluded that our instrument provided children with opportunities to learn about the ecological fact of auditory perception, and that using it would cultivate self-initiative and collaborative attitudes in children.
This paper discusses fieldwork as an endeavor to grasp significant shapes of intelligence and wisdom, sometimes including so-far-unidentified ones, from situated interactions between the own mind and body and its surrounding environment. The academic notion supportive of this understanding is situated cognition, which has been advocated in the late 80s. Cognition generated in a situated manner, however, is hard to observe and describe. The intrinsic difficulty might be the reason why little practical literature has shown specific and concrete shapes of situated cognition. We have proposed a practical method of observing and describing diverse manners of cognition that occurs in situated interactions, what we call embodied meta-cognition. Its main thrust is to observe and describe what multi-layered relations hold between one’s body/mind and the environment, from not just the third-person’s view but also the first and second-person’s one. That is in a way an enriched version of conventional meta-cognition. We show the effectiveness of this method, briefly presenting an exemplar study to explore shapes of intelligence and wisdom about how to make oneself situated in a café calmly and pleasantly.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in fieldwork in various fields. However, is the call to go into the field limited within the context of academic research? We always ponder the purpose and methods of our study. Is not the call facilitating us to transcend even the boundaries of academic research to approach a living reality? It would be somewhat naïve to think that we must go outside the artificial environment of the laboratory in response to the call to go into the field. Before going into the field, I suggest that we need to rethink our thought processes and practices. In this paper, I would like to position fieldwork as our attitude and attempt to characterize our activities therein.