Data from the 78 participants indicated that when the timing of the insertions was right, only about one third of the exchanges were detected.
On many of the non-detected trials, when asked to report what they had said, participants reported the word they had heard through feedback, rather than the word they had actually said. Because accuracy on the task was actually very high, the manipulated feedback effectively led participants to believe that they had made an error and said the wrong word.
Overall, Lind and colleagues found that participants accepted the manipulated feedback as having been self-produced on about 85% of the non-detected trials.
Together, these findings suggest that our understanding of our own utterances, and our sense of agency for those utterances, depend to some degree on inferences we make after we've made them.
Most surprising, perhaps, is the fact that while participants received several indications about what they actually said from their tongue and jaw, from sound conducted through the bone, and from their memory of the correct alternative on the screen they still treated the manipulated words as though they were self-produced.
This suggests, says Lind, that the effect may be even more pronounced in everyday conversation, which is less constrained and more ambiguous than the context offered by the Stroop test.
"In future studies, we want to apply RSE to situations that are more social and spontaneous investigating, for example, how exchanged words might influence the way an interview or conversation develops," says Lind.
"While this is technically challenging to execute, it could potentially tell us a great deal about how meaning and communicative intentions are formed in natural discourse," he concludes.
|Contact: Anna Mikulak|
Association for Psychological Science