Genevieve wrote:Hearing, perceiving and processing aren't the same thing.
I'd very much argue that they are.
They are all part of the same auditory neural circuit in the brain. We cannot really "choose" how sounds make us feel. If every time someone rang a bell, and then burnt you with a cigarette end, you would eventually be conditioned to associate the sound of the bell with impending pain. As demonstrated by that experiment with Pavlovs dogs, (A Level psychology coming in handy right about now) certain auditory stimuli predisposes you to act a certain way. So you are very much "hearing" danger, and the sound you hear is coloured by that emotional reaction.
I think this point is also demonstrated by the OP. I listened to that clip again today, and try as I might, I can't really "unhear" what my brain has already learnt to be true. Hearing, perceiving and processing being 3 parts of the same circuit. If I showed a new person that clip, they would just hear gibberish, just like I did to start with. At the same time, I would be hearing the vocoded English sentence. It's exactly the same sound, but we're hearing something completely different.
There's a book by Oliver Sacks called "Musicophillia" which I'd recommend anyone interested in this sort of stuff reads. He talks about a case study with someone who didn't "get" music at all, and felt no emotional stimulation by it whatsoever. This person describes hearing music as just "a bunch of annoying noises" or something along those lines. Bearing in mind that most of us don't choose to feel an emotional connection to music. We hear it, and it stimulates us. You can't really force yourself to "dislike" a tune. Which is why despite the fact we all have very outlandish musical tastes here (at least compared to the mainstream) I bet all of us have caught ourselves humming a tune which was played on commercial radio at some point.
What you "hear" is what your brain is telling you is there. Your ears are simply organs receptive to sound, what you're "hearing" is generated by your brain. In the process, other cognition comes into play, such as prior emotional experience or cultural judgements. Making it quite fair to say that no two people "hear" the same sound at all.