Thursday, March 06, 2008

Reading the Tone

In college my linguistics professor talked about a study where participants were asked to write down what they heard in a recording. The recording was the work "seashell" played over and over. But the participants heard all sorts of words. (I recognize that there is a study bias in that the participants probably assumed they would not have been asked to write the same word down over and over, but still).
I was talking to an adult male who is reading the Stephanie Meyer books. He is an avid reader but has apparently not read a lot of books about females. I say this because on reading Twilight he apparently called a female relative to find out if this is how girls really think. (I have not yet finished it so we were unable to discuss specifics, but suffice it to say the answer is yes, this is how females think. Pretty much.)
So, now imagine a group of women in a car with a GPS system. I am sure the makers of this GPS system spent a long time coming up with a soothing voice and tone. But let me tell you, if we missed a turn and heard her (it was a female voice, I was hoping for something more of the Matthew McConaughey) say, "Recalculating" - well we heard many things. We heard patience with our failure to follow simple directions. We heard passive aggression. We heard annoyance. We heard frustration. We tried to talk back. (We did realize this was futile. We're female not stupid.) So yes, one voice, many interpretations.