The researchers had subjects listen to spoken syllables while hooked up to a device that would simultaneously blow a tiny puff of air onto the skin of their hand or neck. The syllables included “ba” and “pa,” which produce a brief puff from the mouth when spoken, and “da” and “ta,” which don’t produce puffs. They found that when listeners heard “da” or “ta” while a puff of air was blown onto their skin, they perceived the sound as “ba” or “pa.”The problem with this is that syllable initial voiceless consonants, including /p/ and /t/ are aspirated; that is, they produce a brief puff of air, whereas voiced consonants, including /b/ and /d/ are unaspirated. The error appears to be Fountain's; the abstract in the original paper gets it right.
[The article has since been corrected.]
This is most intriguing - thanks for this post.
You can also read/hear an interview of the article's author:
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