The One-Voice Expert

<general notice> I haven’t been posting very much because of the whole ‘becoming a doctor’ thing taking priority for now 😉 Site is still updated though! </general notice>

I wanted to write a very quick post on a research project I’ve been working on, as I made some materials to explain the results for the CogSci2020 conference, and why not share them more widely?

Art and science have a lot to learn from each-other. I am especially interested in performance arts in that respect – there is so much ‘diffuse’ (or maybe ‘practical’ is a better term?) knowledge about how humans work that has been build up over century through trial, error and intuition. Think of how a magician needs to understand attention, an actor emotion, a dancer the connection between brain and body.

For example, the Rubber Hand Illusion was described for the first time in a scientific paper by Botvinick and Cohen in 1998, introducing it to scientific methodology and scrutiny. However, this type of illusion had been used in performance art (and as a simple ‘party-trick’) for a long, long time. One of the first recorded instances of a body illusion is the Aristotle illusion, where you cross your fingers and put them over your nose (this is hard to describe but it gives you the feeling that you have two noses – quite remarkable if you consider that you’ve probably had one nose your entire life, but somehow your brain is cool with it).

Anyway, there is a particular theatrical game in improvistional theatre that I’ve always found interesting in this context. It is called the one-voice expert, and in it, two or more actors play one person. Usually this is some kind of expert on a made-up topic, and they are interviewed on said topic by another actor (example). The trick is that the ‘expert’ needs to improvise speech as one – no-one should take the lead, and they have to adapt to each other very quickly.

We used this game as inspiration for a paradigm to examine joint speech. There is a whole field of research on joint speech, which I won’t go into here (read the paper if you’re interested). We wanted to see what could be added when we considered embodiment within this framework. For more explanation, I’m going to refer you to our poster at CogSci2020:

CogSci Poster – The One-Voice Expert

And the video accompanying it:

CogSci Video – The One-Voice Expert

And if you really want to know All The Things, here is the paper 😀 :

CogSci Paper – The One-Voice Expert

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