How racial stereotypes impact communication

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Racial stereotypes and expectations can impact the way we communicate and understand others, according to UBC research.

The new study, published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, highlights how non-verbal “social cues” – such as photographs of Chinese Canadians – can affect how we comprehend speech.

“This research brings to light our internal, biases, and the role of experience and stereotypes, in how we listen to and hear each other,” says Molly Babel, the paper’s lead author and an assistant professor with UBC’s Department of Linguistics.

One of the study’s tasks involved participants from the UBC community transcribing pre-recorded sentences amid background static. The sentences were recorded by 12 native speakers of Canadian English. Half of the speakers self-identified as White, and the other half self-identified as Chinese. All speakers were born and raised in Richmond, B.C., which is south of Vancouver.

The pre-recorded sentences were accompanied by either black and white photos of the speakers, or by an image of three crosses. Overall, listeners found the Chinese Canadians more difficult to understand than the White Canadians – but only when they were made aware that the speaker was Chinese Canadian due to the photo prompt.

Participants were also asked to rate the strength of the accents of the speakers. They were asked to listen to two sentences from each speaker – one accompanied by the speaker’s photo, the other by an image of crosses. “Once participants were aware that they were listening to a White Canadian, suddenly the candidate was perceived as having less of a foreign accent and sounding more like a native speaker of Canadian English,” says Babel.

“It tells us as listeners that we need to be sensitive about the stereotypes that we carry,” notes Jamie Russell, the study’s co-author who was an undergraduate honours student in UBC’s Department of Linguistics during the project.

Background

The study, “Expectations and Speech Intelligibility,” is published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. The authors are Molly Babel and Jamie Russell, both of UBC’s Department of Linguistics.

The study involved five tasks: speech perception in noise, accentedness rating, an implicit measure of ethnic bias, an explicit measure of ethnic bias and a social network self-assessment.

Top Songs I listened to in 2019: Laboratorium Pieśni

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I have a 16,000 plus digital audio collection and I use Media Monkey to manage my files. One feature of Media Monkey is you can sort your collection based on the number of times played. This playlist is based on the top music and/or music video files I played/listened/streamed from my server in 2019.

Laboratorium Pieśni – Song Laboratory (world/ethno/spiritual/mystic folk music) is a group of female singers from Poland, created in 2013. Using traditional, polyphonic singing they perform songs from all over the world, mainly: Ukraine, Balkans, Poland, Belarus, Georgia, Scandinavia and many other places. They sing a capella as well as with shaman drums and other ethnic instruments (shruti box, kalimba, flute, gong, zaphir and koshi chimes, singing bowls, rattles etc.), creating a new space in a traditional song, adding voice improvisations, inspired by sounds of nature, often intuitive, wild and feminine.

Yoga & Depression

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From an article on the Yoga International web site: 5241352878_f53a343088

Anyone who has suffered from depression understands how deep, abiding sadness or worthlessness can infiltrate and affect every aspect of our being. Our psychological makeup, physical health, mental outlook, and even our ability to interact with friends and family and be present to the world around us can get shaken to their core. Why? Because we identify with and attach ourselves to things that will inevitably change. As our feelings and other symptoms of depression persist, we have an increasingly difficult time imagining a life in which we break free from their spell and avoid “becoming” them.

Yoga teaches us that we aren’t our feelings or our symptoms but live in multidimensional relationship with them. One way to grasp this paradox is to picture the Self (purusha or pure, undifferentiated awareness) as pervading all nine interlocking and interdependent spheres of influence without being any one of them. See More here.

https://yogainternational.com/article/view/yoga-for-depression-an-integrated-practice

Microphone jammer

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Tired of smart watches, cell phones and digital assistants listening in? Now a wearable microphone jammer that is capable of disabling microphones in its user’s surroundings, including hidden microphones. Our device is based on a recent exploit that leverages the fact that when exposed to ultrasonic noise, commodity microphones will leak the noise into the audible range. By making it wearable, our jammer outperforms existing approaches with an improved coverage and less blind spots.