Randy Newman: Can he or can’t he?

Here’s a short snippet of audio which people hear in different ways.

What do you think – does he say ‘I can’ or ‘I can’t’?

Why not take a straw poll of your friends and colleagues to see what they think – then read on for a scientific perspective!>>   Read more now

An explosive murder confession – or a dodgy transcription?

17 March 2015

Listen to these two snippets of muttered self-talk, then read on to see how a transcript can prime journalists’ perception.

If you are among the few who have not already heard the media’s interpretation of this audio, you’ll find it useful if you write down what you hear now, before reading on – and if you have a moment, I would love to be told your perception – you can send a message here.>>   Read more now

Christopher Pyne: the c-word or the g-word?

16 May 2014

Social media claims Christopher Pyne dropped the ‘C’ word in parliament on Wednesday, but he says the word was ‘grub’. (SMH)

Huge interest the last day or two here in Oz as to whether Christopher Pyne, a right-wing politician, swore at a fellow politician in parliament.>>   Read more now

What did Oscar Pistorius really say?

10 April 2014

With so many responding to media invitations to form subjective opinions as to whether Oscar Pistorius’ emotion is genuine, are we missing factual errors in the reporting of what he is actually saying? Could scientific analysis help here?>>   Read more now

A new take on satanic messages

You’ve probably heard of the concerns voiced in the 1980s that rock bands could corrupt youth, by recording their songs so that if you played them backwards, the words would turn into a message from satan.>>   Read more now

The PACT experiments

The PACT experiments represent a more commonplace – and more disturbing – problem with the treatment of forensic transcription than the crisis call experiment. Again they use audio from a real murder trial. If you have read the case study, you’ll recognise this story. Here we go into a bit more detail on the experimental results than in the case study itself.>>   Read more now

The crisis call experiment

Here’s an experiment shows the dangers of leaving the task of evaluating the transcript of a ‘disputed utterance’ to the jury.

The story

Early one morning, a young man returned home from his paper round. About twenty minutes later, he made a crisis call (emergency call) reporting his entire family were lying dead in the house.>>   Read more now

1958 priming experiment

Priming, in relation to speech, is the tendency of the human ear to hear words that have been suggested, either explicitly or by context – even though there may little or no acoustic evidence for those words.>>   Read more now