There are not enough hours in the day, nor funding agencies in the neighbourhood, to get all the things done that need to be done. Here, I outline some ideas I have that I wish to pursue, but that would be best done in collaboration with others. Some of them require expertise I don’t have. Some of them simply require engagement, work, and discussion. If you are interested in discussing any of these proto-projects with me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.
The field of joint speech is a huge blindspot. Speaking in unison, or joint speech, is a remarkable practice that is deeply intertwined with our practices of prayer and protest, with the expression of collective identity e.g. in sports chants, and with diverse educational practices, to say nothing of the sport of choral speaking or the swearing of secular oaths. Yet we have virtually no science here worthy of the name. I informally estimate that there is an order of magnitude more published work on speaking in tongues than there is on joint speech.
So I am looking for others to join me in both structured and unstructured fashion in the observation of joint speech practices. This can be observation from daily life, from YouTube, from a professional or an amateur angle. This page describes the kind of observation I am proposing in some more detail.
A recent fMRI study (J. Neuroscience, 2016) seems to have demonstrated, for the first time, that cortical activity is rather different when we speak in unison with another speaker than when we speak alone, or even in unison with a recording. I would like to do a simple, but non-standard, EEG study to follow up. Some more details here.
Communication seems to always come with transmission lags. But for some, very human, activities, it is necessary that we stay “in touch” with zero mean lag between us. For this to work, there must be mutual predictability of some sort. I should like to investigate the space of zero mean lag synchronization, and see if that can lead to the development of novel technologies that enhance the sense of co-presence among remote users. Here are some more details.