AERA 2021

Presentation Notes


Toward Equity in Accepted Forms of Scholarly Communication

Metacognition by Doctabarz (links to audio)


When the MC's came to live out they name

I had'em sign a consent form and used electroencephalograph waves

to exam their brains

To me MC means MetaCognition.

My dissertation had a simple motivation:

Survival of the living requires adaptation

To change in one's environment or situation,

And this should be an explicit goal of education!

Creative experts embody innovation,

So how they think and learn's a great basis for investigation

Of how humans adapt and learn to adapt.

So I examined this in experts at rap improvisation:

With highly complex cognitive engagement,

Requiring music and language integration,

It can shed light on how we adapt in relation

To organized sound information

When the MC's came to live out they name

I had'em sign a consent form and used electroencephalograph waves

to exam their brains

To me MC means MetaCognition.

My methods rested on 3 educated guesses:

· seasoned rappers should have enhanced music or speech perception;

· unique neurological connections;

· and expert perspectives on learning since our training is self-directed.

I had to test it. The time investment was major.

I had to juggle multiple disciplinary flavors:

Cognitive neuroscience, psycholinguistics, qualitative interviews.

Then I wrote three papers:

Papers one and two came from one experiment,

Comparing expert rappers to non-lyricists

To find: that the way that hear rhyme,

and how the brain responds to rhyme,

are modulated by rap experience.

In paper three, I pose a theory concerning

How creative writing promotes self-directed learning,

And show how expert rap competence

Demands being metacognitive with several knowledges

When the MC's came to live out they name

I had'em sign a consent form and used electroencephalograph waves

to exam their brains

To me MC means MetaCognition.

I controlled for confounding elements

To see if any difference observed in group measurements

Could be predicted by rap expertise,

Because only then could I consider the difference as evidence

In short: the groups weren't the same:

They processed rhyme differently in different hemispheres of the brain.

Controls processed rhyme like just language,

But rappers processed rhyme like syntax in musical arrangements.

Overall, I uncovered what I'd expect to see:

Rap's mental complexity's a unique recipe

For organizing the mind, and any fresh emcee

Is a model of adaptive expertise.

Cognitive Compression

I introduce a conceptual basis for putting traditional and alternative scholarly communication formats on equal footing: cognitive compression. Cognitive compression refers to the ways in which humans alter the structure of information to ease or enhance cognitive processing. We do this unconsciously whenever our brains encode lived experiences as mental representations, and we do this consciously whenever we invent formats/technologies that restructure information for eased/enhanced cognitive processing. For example, the investigation that led to my dissertation took 3. 5 years of lived experience to complete. The dissertation, and all other scholarly communications derived from my investigation are compressed forms of that lived experience, and can be compared in terms of their unique ways of making scientific findings accessible to audiences.

Discussion Questions:

  • In evaluating alternative content representation formats for scholarly communication, how do we assess/ensure quality or competence across and within formats?

  • How do we reasonably accomplish this quality control without resorting to deficit/assimilationist approaches that:

    • Assume the inferiority of the format in question, failing to entertain the possibility of its inherent intellectual complexity or rigor, and therefore…

    • Require that its value be articulated and/or understood in terms of presently accepted formats?

  • What competencies do we need in order to engage in this work? How will we acquire them?



This study sought to determine whether rap expertise is associated with enhanced knowledge of psychoacoustic similarity. Using a stimulus composed of pseudo-word assonantal half-rhyme triplets (e.g., freet/speet//yeek), expert improvisational rap lyricists were compared to laypersons (non-lyricists) in their judgments of half-rhyme acceptability. According to both a perception-based and a linguistic feature-based measure of psychoacoustic similarity, lyricists were distinct from non-lyricists in the rates at which they found half-rhymes acceptable, and in how group responses were correlated with the similarity measures. Data indicate that, compared to non-lyricists, lyricists’ half-rhyme acceptance rates are more highly correlated with linguistic features that have more robust perceptual cues. Evidence suggests that lyricists and non-lyricists employ different strategies for determining the acceptability of half-rhymes, and that lyricists might be more sensitive or attuned to similar aspects of speech sounds.

Discussion Questions:

How do we maximize the ways in which Hip-Hop education (or our conception thereof) is informed by the exploration of perception, cognition and learning in expert Hip Hoppaz’ practice?

How might we ensure that insights from the investigation of Hip-Hop expertise optimally benefit the Hip Hop community and Kulture, and do so in ways that insulate it from exploitation by institutions (including the record industry and even the academy)?