For my research project I will be focusing on the brain’s ability to hear nonexistent morphemes from utterances that do not contain any meaning. The McGurk effect is a phenomenon that involves visual information, in video or written form, influencing the auditory information that one ultimately perceives. What I want to look further into is similar to the McGurk effect in that the auditory information is shifting; however, the visual component involved is not always present. I will be using various misheard lyrics in order to demonstrate my research. Misheard lyrics are often heard by multiple people and can easily become more well-known than the actual lyrics. For instance, in Taylor Swifts “Blank Space” the lyrics “got a long list of ex-lovers” became “got a lot of Starbucks lovers” for a significant amount of people. However, I am going to direct most of my focus on songs that include nonsense words and how those words are interpreted into lyrics. This is demonstrated by the song “Blue” by Eiffel 65 with the nonsense lyrics, “da ba dee da ba die.” This lyric is commonly misinterpreted to be actual words, one of the most common being, “if I were green I would die.” I plan on including an auditory element to my presentation that demonstrates this effect. I anticipate that I will discover in my research that the reason people have a tendency to hear words in a context where recognizable words are not present is due a predetermined need to understand. The brain expects to hear something that will ultimately make sense which results in the creation of nonexistent morphemes.
Braden, Mikayla, "Nonsense Morphemes: How Nonsense Lyrics Can Evolve into Meaningful Morphemes" (2020). 2020 Undergraduate Presentations. 17.