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TheOtherDave comments on Wait vs Interrupt Culture - Less Wrong

72 Post author: Benquo 27 November 2013 03:38PM

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Comment author: TheOtherDave 23 November 2013 10:27:32PM *  31 points [-]

I have naturally low Latency of Verbal Response, and was raised in the intersection of several cultures where the normative LVR was negative (that is, you're expected to start replying just before the other person finishes).

When I experienced minor aphasia due to brain trauma, my LVR ballooned astronomically. This made it impossible to talk to some people... but it also revealed to me that several people I'd known for years and thought of as "quiet" were more than happy to talk to me at length and actually had quite a bit to say.

Since then, I've made more of a conscious effort to do some initial "handshaking" in conversations to work out what someone's natural LVR is, and to match it. (I often fail, but I do try.) I encourage it as a way of expressing interest in what someone has to say, if nothing else.

Comment author: Antisuji 24 November 2013 02:29:47PM 9 points [-]

A little while back I read a Language Log post on this, one of Mark Liberman's breakfast experiments. He looks at differences in switch timing, which I think is the same as what you're calling LSV, between male and female speakers in a large corpus of telephone conversations.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 24 November 2013 06:23:09PM 3 points [-]
  • blink * I have absolutely no idea, in retrospect, why I repeatedly wrote "LSV". I meant "LVR" (Latency of Verbal Response). Fixed. And yes, I think Mark is talking about the same thing I am.
Comment author: Alicorn 24 November 2013 07:53:29AM 7 points [-]

How do you go about the handshaking?

Comment author: TheOtherDave 24 November 2013 06:30:30PM 8 points [-]

Nothing fancy. I say something and then wait attentively until the other person either says something in response or wanders off altogether, then wait a similar length of time (well, more typically split the difference) before replying. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Comment author: Emily 26 November 2013 04:46:43PM 3 points [-]

This is really interesting, and I'd be interested in hearing more about your experience with aphasia. Would you consider writing a short bit about it?

Comment author: TheOtherDave 26 November 2013 05:00:48PM 14 points [-]

My aphasia was pretty minor; it mostly consisted of difficulty retrieving words, which is technically speaking anomia (though a few times I lost the ability to form sentences altogether, and on one memorable evening I lost the ability to conjugate sentences and proceeded to talk like Captain Caveman for a couple of hours).

The most interesting thing to me about the aphasia itself was how much I "knew" about the word I didn't know. I remember being shown a picture of a whistle and asked what that was called. My reply was something like "It's a perfectly common word. I know it, I just can't retrieve it. It's a device you blow into and there's a little ball in it and it makes a sound. And the name of the sound is the same as the name of the device. And you do it to a happy tune, and you do it while you work."

Along the same lines, I was blocked on the word "wheelchair" for a long time, but whenever I tried to say it I'd get words like "washing machine", "skateboard", "roller skate", "dishwasher"... the word-space of compound-named machines.

I remember having a lot of trouble with years. People were forevermore asking me what the date was, to see if I was oriented in time, and I had to explicitly work out how to name the year each time. "OK... it's the eighth year of the 21st century. How do we say that, again? It's a compound phrase, I remember that much... "eight and twenty-one"? No, that's not right. "Twenty-one and eight"? No, that's not right either." Etc. Getting to "Two thousand and eight" always took some doing.

Comment author: Tyrrell_McAllister 26 November 2013 06:48:02PM *  4 points [-]

I'd get words like "washing machine", "skateboard", "roller skate", "dishwasher"... the word-space of compound-named machines.

... with important rotating components (the drum, the wheels, the wheels, and that spraying-blade thing, respectively).

Comment author: Emily 03 December 2013 11:03:38AM 1 point [-]

Thanks for sharing! Interesting stuff.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 27 November 2013 03:32:25PM 1 point [-]

When I'm trying to remember a word, I get a lot of associated detail, usually including something about the sound of the word. Initial sound, number of syllables, that sort of thing-- did you get something about the sound?

Comment author: TheOtherDave 27 November 2013 06:00:47PM 2 points [-]

Very very rarely. Usually if I could get to a confident feeling about the sound-shape of the word, I had the word.

This contrasts with my normal word-search experience, which is similar to what you describe, and I suspect the exceptions were cases where I would have had trouble finding the word even without the anomia.

Comment author: Armok_GoB 28 November 2013 05:17:37AM *  0 points [-]

The thing I find odd here is that you didn't just draw it in the air with your finger or something, or describe it with a lot of more common words you did know. Plenty of ways to bypass occasional missing words.

(source: habit of learning about something cool in one language, then having to explain it in another)

Comment author: TheOtherDave 28 November 2013 05:46:28AM 4 points [-]

In the whistle case, I was specifically being asked to name the object as part of a lexical inventory to evaluate how much of a deficit I was running; the point was to come up with the word "whistle."
In the wheelchair case, I would generally bang on the wheelchair I was in and say "this thing." The issue wasn't that I was unable to communicate, the issue was that I'd lost access to perfectly common words.
Hope that clarifies matters.

Similarly, people understand me perfectly well when I not conjugate sentence properly, but is still frustrating when I know is wrong but cannot say right.