歌詞的語義理解:事件相關腦電位研究

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2013

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本文旨在以事件相關腦電位的技術來探討歌詞的語義理解歷程及歌曲熟悉度對此理解歷程之影響。過去研究語言與音樂的相關文獻指出,一般人在聽歌時,會對歌曲中的歌詞進行語義理解的分析,因而認為此語義分析與口語語言(spoken language)的理解歷程相似。然而,由於實驗目的不同及實驗操弄可能產生的混淆變項,關於歌詞的語義理解仍需更多討論。本實驗以跨感官知覺的語義促發作業(cross-modal semantic priming)為設計,在受試者聽完一段熟悉或不熟悉的中文流行歌曲片段後,對受試者以視覺方式呈現與該歌曲片段的句尾促發詞(prime)之語義相關或不相關的目標詞(target),並請受試者對於該目標詞進行名詞具體度的判斷。實驗結果發現,在目標詞與促發詞語義不相關的情況下,引發較語義相關為大的N400,顯示受試者在聽歌時,確實對於歌曲中的歌詞進行語義理解的分析。此外,在目標詞配對之促發詞為熟悉歌詞的情況下,N400的分布為中間偏左腦;然而,在目標詞配對之促發詞為不熟悉歌詞的情況下,N400的分布為中間偏右腦。此N400在左右腦分布上的差異顯示,受試者可能採取不同的語義分析策略來理解熟悉與不熟悉的歌詞。由於受試者對於熟悉的歌詞有較高的字詞期待(word expectancy),因此當受試者聽到熟悉的歌曲時,傾向用以左腦為主的預測式策略來進行歌詞理解。相較之下,受試者對於不熟悉的歌詞則有較低的字詞期待,加上中文歌詞的聲調(tone)在歌曲中因受到音樂影響而變得較不易辨識,因此當受試者聽到不熟悉的歌曲時,傾向用以右腦為主的整合式策略來進行歌詞理解。
Song lyrics are serving as a prevailing and important media communicating meanings in our daily life aside from written or spoken language. However, whether song lyrics are processed at a semantic level in song perception still remains less explored. While earlier studies investigating the relationship between lyrics and tune processing have reported that lyrics processing is conducted in the same way as spoken language which involves semantic processing, the results might have been confounded by methodological issues and thus could simply be task-induced effects. Therefore, the goal of the present study is to further explore lyrics processing with the ERP technique, testing whether people process lyrics semantically in song perception and whether song familiarity has an impact on such processing. A semantic priming paradigm was employed in the experiment. The subjects were aurally displayed a Chinese pop song excerpt before seeing a semantically related or unrelated target presented visually on the computer screen. Their task was to decide whether the target word is concrete or abstract. The results showed that an N400 effect was elicited in the comparison of semantically related vs. unrelated targets, suggesting that the subjects were processing the meaning of the lyrics stimuli in song perception. Furthermore, the ERP results showed a different pattern of N400 in hemispheric distribution between the familiar and the unfamiliar lyrics conditions: the N400 effect for familiar lyrics processing was significant in the midline and the left hemisphere, while for unfamiliar lyrics processing, the effect was significant in the midline and the right hemisphere. This hemispheric discrepancy of N400 indicated that the subjects might have used two different strategies in lyrics processing based on their familiarity toward the songs, prediction and integration. For the familiar lyrics, the subjects adopted a predictive manner in lyrics processing by bearing a relatively high word expectancy toward the lyrics. While for the unfamiliar lyrics, the subjects might be using an integrative strategy in lyrics processing due to their relatively low word expectancy on the lyrics and, more importantly, the obscure tonal feature of the lyrics in a song, which might have made it more difficult to access the semantic meaning of words. In summary, by examining the subjects' on-line processing in lyrics perception, the present study suggested that people process lyrics semantically in song perception and that they employ different strategies in processing songs with different familiarity.

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事件相關腦電位, 歌詞, 語義理解歷程, 歌曲熟悉度, N400, Event-related Potentials (ERPs), Song lyrics, Semantic Processing, Familiarity, N400

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