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How is tone volume encoded?

How is tone volume encoded?



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I am wondering whether increasing the volume would result in (a) a neuron that was already firing to now increase its spike rate, (b) a different group of neurons to add their activity to the population total, (c) a different group of neurons, coding for the new volume, to become active while the first group of neurons silences, or (d) some combination of the above. In particular, I am curious about the subcortical portion of the auditory pathway.


There are quite a few stations between cochlea and the brain and I will focus on the auditory nerve. That said, your theories (a) and (b) are both correct, and therefore (d) applies as well.

(a) Neurons in the auditory nerve increase their firing rate when sound level is increased (Heil et al, 2011). This can be regarded as the primary mechanism for encoding sound level.

(b) Increased sound levels are accompanied by a larger area in the cochlea being activated due to the low-frequency tail (Kiang & Moxon, 1974). Hence, more neurons start firing at higher sound levels when the tone frequency is the same. Although this may add in the perceived sound level, it is likely of less importance than (a), as it is basically a reflection of the mechanical properties of the basilar membrane in the cochlea and primarily reduces frequency resolution.

(c) There are no neurons ever identified that are dedicated to sound level encoding. Instead, auditory nerve fibers encode sound frequency (according to the place-frequency map of the cochlea) and they encode sound intensity via their firing rate.

(d) Hence, since both (a) and (b) are correct, your hypothesis (d) holds, as it is a combination of the above.

One can safely assume these intensity-coding mechanisms hold up in the responses of neurons in the next station - the cochlear nucleus. However, the higher up you go in the auditory system, the less likely a 1:1 relationship as found in the far periphery applies.

References
- Heil et al., J Neurosci 2011; 31(43): 15424-37
- Kiang & Moxon, JASA 1954; 55(3): 620-30


Siebert (1968) modelled level discrimination based on the information in the firing rate of auditory nerve fibers. The model does a reasonable job over a narrow range of conditions, but misses a large number of effects. Since Siebert's original effort, a number of more advance models have been developed. A more recent model by Colburn et. al (2003) highlights just how complicated sound level encoding is at the level of the auditory nerve:

It is shown that the rate information provided by individual AN fibers is more constrained by increases in variance with increases in rate than by saturation. As noted in previous studies, there is sufficient average-rate information within a narrow-CF region to account for robust behavioral performance over a wide dynamic range; however, there is no model based on a simple limitation or use of AN information consistent with parametric variations in performance. This issue is explored in the current study through analysis of performance based on different aspects of AN patterns. For example, we show that performance predicted from use of all rate information degrades significantly as level increases above low-medium levels, inconsistent with Weber's Law. At low frequencies, synchrony information extends the range over which behavioral performance can be explained by 10-15 dB, but only at low levels. In contrast to rate and synchrony, nonlinear-phase cues are shown to provide robust information at medium and high levels in near-CF fibers for low-frequency stimuli. The level dependence of the discharge rate and phase properties of AN fibers are influenced by the compressive nonlinearity of the inner ear.

--

Siebert, W. M. (1968). Stimulus transformations in the peripheral auditory system. Recognizing patterns, 104-133.


How memories form and fade

Why is it that you can remember the name of your childhood best friend that you haven't seen in years yet easily forget the name of a person you just met a moment ago? In other words, why are some memories stable over decades, while others fade within minutes?

Using mouse models, Caltech researchers have now determined that strong, stable memories are encoded by "teams" of neurons all firing in synchrony, providing redundancy that enables these memories to persist over time. The research has implications for understanding how memory might be affected after brain damage, such as by strokes or Alzheimer's disease.

The work was done in the laboratory of Carlos Lois, research professor of biology, and is described in a paper that appears in the August 23 of the journal Science. Lois is also an affiliated faculty member of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech.

Led by postdoctoral scholar Walter Gonzalez, the team developed a test to examine mice's neural activity as they learn about and remember a new place. In the test, a mouse was placed in a straight enclosure, about 5 feet long with white walls. Unique symbols marked different locations along the walls -- for example, a bold plus sign near the right-most end and an angled slash near the center. Sugar water (a treat for mice) was placed at either end of the track. While the mouse explored, the researchers measured the activity of specific neurons in the mouse hippocampus (the region of the brain where new memories are formed) that are known to encode for places.

When an animal was initially placed in the track, it was unsure of what to do and wandered left and right until it came across the sugar water. In these cases, single neurons were activated when the mouse took notice of a symbol on the wall. But over multiple experiences with the track, the mouse became familiar with it and remembered the locations of the sugar. As the mouse became more familiar, more and more neurons were activated in synchrony by seeing each symbol on the wall. Essentially, the mouse was recognizing where it was with respect to each unique symbol.

To study how memories fade over time, the researchers then withheld the mice from the track for up to 20 days. Upon returning to the track after this break, mice that had formed strong memories encoded by higher numbers of neurons remembered the task quickly. Even though some neurons showed different activity, the mouse's memory of the track was clearly identifiable when analyzing the activity of large groups of neurons. In other words, using groups of neurons enables the brain to have redundancy and still recall memories even if some of the original neurons fall silent or are damaged.

Gonzalez explains: "Imagine you have a long and complicated story to tell. In order to preserve the story, you could tell it to five of your friends and then occasionally get together with all of them to re-tell the story and help each other fill in any gaps that an individual had forgotten. Additionally, each time you re-tell the story, you could bring new friends to learn and therefore help preserve it and strengthen the memory. In an analogous way, your own neurons help each other out to encode memories that will persist over time."

Memory is so fundamental to human behavior that any impairment to memory can severely impact our daily life. Memory loss that occurs as part of normal aging can be a significant handicap for senior citizens. Moreover, memory loss caused by several diseases, most notably Alzheimer's, has devastating consequences that can interfere with the most basic routines including recognizing relatives or remembering the way back home. This work suggests that memories might fade more rapidly as we age because a memory is encoded by fewer neurons, and if any of these neurons fail, the memory is lost. The study suggests that one day, designing treatments that could boost the recruitment of a higher number of neurons to encode a memory could help prevent memory loss.

"For years, people have known that the more you practice an action, the better chance that you will remember it later," says Lois. "We now think that this is likely, because the more you practice an action, the higher the number of neurons that are encoding the action. The conventional theories about memory storage postulate that making a memory more stable requires the strengthening of the connections to an individual neuron. Our results suggest that increasing the number of neurons that encode the same memory enables the memory to persist for longer."

The paper is titled "Persistence of neuronal representations through time and damage in the hippocampus." In addition to Gonzalez and Lois, co-authors are undergraduate Hanwen Zhang and former lab technician Anna Harutyunyan. Funding was provided by the American Heart Association, the Della Martin Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and a BRAIN Initiative grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.


The distinction between natural and nonnatural meaning [ edit | edit source ]

Grice understood "meaning" to refer to two rather different kinds of phenomena. Natural meaning is supposed to capture something similar to the relation between cause and effect as, for example, applied in the sentence "Those spots mean measles". This must be distinguished from what Grice calls nonnatural meaning, as present in "Those three rings on the bell (of the bus) mean that the bus is full". Grice's subsequent suggestion is that the notion of nonnatural meaning should be analysed in terms of speakers' intentions in trying to communicate something to an audience.


Difference Between Voice and Tone

Voice vs Tone

Most of the people think voice and tone as synonymous as they are sometimes used interchangeably. These two are very slippery words that most often people do not come across any big difference. Well, it is not that voice and tone are one and the same but there exists a wide difference between these two words.

Voice can be referred to a writer’s attitude towards his subject or readers. Tone can be termed as that reflects the mood of a writer. A writer can have different tones while raising his voice.

A writer can use various voice like satirical, patronizing or humorous in his writing. But tone attributes to the tone in which he presents his writings. While voice can be attributed as a writer’s representation of the truth that he depicts, tone can be said to be representation of his feelings or attitudes.

Unlike tone, voice can be considered as a writer’s style. It is the voice and not tone that differentiates one writer from another. It is the voice that makes his writing unique. It is through the voice that readers come to know about a writer’s character and personality.

When we speak of voice, it can be said to be referring to truth, honesty, power and authority of a writer. But tone does not refer to truth, power, honesty and power of a writer.

While voice represents the personality of a writer, tone only describes his mood or his feelings. In a sense voice can be called as authoritative and tone as something that is strong.

When voice can be termed as satirical, humorous and patronizing, tone can be differentiated as strong, soft and moderate.

The readers hear through your voice what you have rendered in your writings. Tone is the way by which you create a piece of work that attributes your mood.

When coming to conversations, voice and tone differ much. A person can talk in a high voice but the tone might be low and vice versa. While tone refers to the emotional aspects of a speaker, voice is something related to the pitch. The different ways of expression can determine a person’s mood or attitude, which represents his tone of character. But a voice cannot determine the mood of a person.

1.Voice can be referred to a writer’s attitude towards his subject or readers. Tone can be termed as that reflects the mood of a writer.
2.While voice can be attributed as a writer’s representation of the truth that he depicts, tone only pertains to his attitude.
3.Voice can be called as authoritative and tone as something that is strong.


Chapter 1 – Where to begin: your values

A tone of voice is an expression of a company’s values and way of thinking. It cannot be plucked from thin air, created on a whim or entirely based on a trend you think is cool. Rather, it must grow out of who you already are as a company. Not who you might be tomorrow, but what you look and sound like today.

Pinning down your values acts as a kind of background work – before you can think about how you write, you must decide on what you write.

This must start with the obvious yet easily forgotten question: what is it you want to tell the world? It is only once you define the core purpose of your communication that you can start to build your tone of voice.

In order to identify your values, here are a few questions to ask yourself. If possible, get other people in your company to join in and then see what everyone’s answers have in common. (Turning this into a collaborative process may also help with getting buy-in from different departments, as discussed in my final chapter on implementation.)

Why was the company set up in the first place?

Get back to the initial spark of excitement behind the company’s creation. Beyond earning an income, what was the drive behind it all?

“The reason for the company’s existence is clear – to unclog the roads and thereby help look after the natural environment.”

Car-sharing service Zipcar asks its website visitors to ‘Imagine a world with one million fewer cars in the world’. The reason for the company’s existence is clear – to unclog the roads and thereby help look after the natural environment. This mission to encourage greener living, then, propels the rest of its copy and approach to language. For instance, its call for people to join its members club doesn’t focus on added luxury or convenience, but instead asks, ‘Want to make a real impact?’

Women’s lifestyle brand Libertine is another example of a brand that asserts a clear mission to its work. The founders wanted to ‘redefine the women’s media landscape by celebrating inner life over outer appearance’. Libertine, thus, addresses an area previously neglected by the media – inner beauty. The brand states its core values as, ‘character, curiosity, wit and good manners.’ In turn, these values shape its copy for example, Libertine’s curiosity means that it asks a lot of questions, its good manners means that it avoids overly blunt sentences and commands such as ‘do this’ and ‘watch that’.

I asked founder Debbi Evans about Libertine’s approach to writing

Q. How did you go about shaping your tone of voice?

I think it’s a bit easier to define a tone of voice when you’re a publication as a lot of it will come from the editor, and you’ve got sub-editors to help you keep it consistent. A lot of it did evolve naturally as in the very early days we were still trying to work out exactly who we wanted to be, and several of our core values and interests were a bit contradictory. (I am thinking, in particular, of trying to embrace the finer things in life while being tech nerds here. The former is about luxury – traditionally a very closed and elitist subject – the latter is all about open source, collaboration, cooperation – could we embrace one without negating the other?) I think in the end if your interest and enthusiasm for both comes across as equally genuine then you’re OK.

Q. Was it difficult to pin down your core values?

We almost started with our core values before anything else – a few years of research had taught me that consistency with those was key to being authentic from a consumer perspective. We looked at women we thought were awesome – Joan Didion, Angela Carter, Ada Lovelace – and tried to imagine what characteristics might be common to all of them: Wit, character, curiosity and good manners. I know the latter is a socially loaded term but it’s OK to be a bit provocative!

Q. Do you have any particular rules or approaches when it comes to writing?

Do a rushed first draft to get everything onto the page – try not to self-edit (this is really hard!) Then go back and rework, slowly, and read your writing out loud. There’s nothing more effective for getting an idea of your tone and flow than when you’re reading it out to someone corrections are much easier.

Q. Is there a line or piece of copy that you are especially proud of?

‘Celebrating inner life over outer appearance’ felt effective when we first used it. Women’s magazines are so loaded with clichés it was important to get something that felt completely different to that.

Q. Are there any brands’ tone of voices that you particularly like?

The winner is still the Economist. Monocle also deserves a nod – they’ve developed such a strong brand they’ve even got a (very funny) lorem ipsum, made by an admiring designer.

What basic human value does your company offer?


Why would musical training benefit the neural encoding of speech? The OPERA hypothesis


Mounting evidence suggests that musical training benefits the neural encoding of speech. This paper offers a hypothesis specifying why such benefits occur. The “OPERA” hypothesis proposes that such benefits are driven by adaptive plasticity in speech-processing networks, and that this plasticity occurs when five conditions are met. These are: (1) Overlap: there is anatomical overlap in the brain networks that process an acoustic feature used in both music and speech (e.g., waveform periodicity, amplitude envelope), (2) Precision: music places higher demands on these shared networks than does speech, in terms of the precision of processing, (3) Emotion: the musical activities that engage this network elicit strong positive emotion, (4) Repetition: the musical activities that engage this network are frequently repeated, and (5) Attention: the musical activities that engage this network are associated with focused attention. According to the OPERA hypothesis, when these conditions are met neural plasticity drives the networks in question to function with higher precision than needed for ordinary speech communication. Yet since speech shares these networks with music, speech processing benefits. The OPERA hypothesis is used to account for the observed superior subcortical encoding of speech in musically trained individuals, and to suggest mechanisms by which musical training might improve linguistic reading abilities.


How is tone volume encoded? - Psychology

Tone Psychology Volume I The Sensation of Successive Single Tones Classic European Studies in the Science of Music *online_books*


How does the tone of voice in communication influence how messages are received?

What the researchers found about talking tone confirmed what many of us may already know intuitively – that communication is not just about what you say, but how you say it. And the data showed that studying the couple’s voices, rather than their behaviors, better predicted the eventual improvement or deterioration of the relationship.

“Psychological practitioners and researchers have long known that the way that partners talk about and discuss problems has important implications for the health of their relationships. However, the lack of efficient and reliable tools for measuring the important elements in those conversations has been a major impediment in their widespread clinical use. These findings represent a major step forward in making an objective measurement of behavior practical and feasible for couple therapists,” said collaborator Brian Baucom of the University of Utah.


Abstract. This study investigated how resource allocation to and encoding of irrelevant peripheral information (advertisements) varied as a function of the emotional tone of a central event (movie clip) and website complexity (number of advertisements). Secondary task reaction times (STRTs) and ad recognition accuracy were used to test the predictions. Two competing hypotheses – a memory narrowing hypothesis and an escape hypothesis – were posed to explain encoding of advertisements paired with negative arousing movie clips at the highest level of website complexity. The results were more supportive of the memory narrowing hypothesis participants had more resources while viewing positive rather than negative movies and advertisements were encoded better when they were presented with positive rather than negative movie clips. However, for calm movie clips this difference showed at the lowest level of website complexity, but gradually diminished as the level of complexity increased.

Bakalash, T., & Riemer, H. ( 2013 ). Exploring ad-elicited emotional arousal and memory for the ad using fMRI . Journal of Advertising , 42(4), 275–291. https://doi.org/10.1080/00913367.2013.768065 First citation in articleCrossref, Google Scholar

Belanche, D., Flavián, C., & Pérez-Rueda, A. ( 2017 ). Understanding interactive online advertising: Congruence and product involvement in highly and lowly arousing, skippable video ads . Journal of Interactive Marketing , 37, 75–88. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intmar.2016.06.004 First citation in articleCrossref, Google Scholar

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How to Develop a Friendly Tone of Voice

This article was co-authored by Amy Chapman, MA. Amy Chapman MA, CCC-SLP is a vocal therapist and singing voice specialist. Amy is a licensed and board certified speech & language pathologist who has dedicated her career to helping professionals improve and optimize their voice. Amy has lectured on voice optimization, speech, vocal health, and voice rehabilitation at universities across California, including UCLA, USC, Chapman University, Cal Poly Pomona, CSUF, CSULA. Amy is trained in Lee Silverman Voice Therapy, Estill, LMRVT, and is a part of the American Speech and Hearing Association.

There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 89% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

This article has been viewed 615,984 times.

When we talk to each other, we communicate with more than just the words we use. We watch each other’s body language, and we listen to people’s tone of voice. If you’re having a casual, happy conversation with someone, it’s important to speak in a friendly tone. To do this, adjust your speaking style and body language. You’ll soon sound as friendly as can be!


The distinction between natural and nonnatural meaning [ edit | edit source ]

Grice understood "meaning" to refer to two rather different kinds of phenomena. Natural meaning is supposed to capture something similar to the relation between cause and effect as, for example, applied in the sentence "Those spots mean measles". This must be distinguished from what Grice calls nonnatural meaning, as present in "Those three rings on the bell (of the bus) mean that the bus is full". Grice's subsequent suggestion is that the notion of nonnatural meaning should be analysed in terms of speakers' intentions in trying to communicate something to an audience.


How to Develop a Friendly Tone of Voice

This article was co-authored by Amy Chapman, MA. Amy Chapman MA, CCC-SLP is a vocal therapist and singing voice specialist. Amy is a licensed and board certified speech & language pathologist who has dedicated her career to helping professionals improve and optimize their voice. Amy has lectured on voice optimization, speech, vocal health, and voice rehabilitation at universities across California, including UCLA, USC, Chapman University, Cal Poly Pomona, CSUF, CSULA. Amy is trained in Lee Silverman Voice Therapy, Estill, LMRVT, and is a part of the American Speech and Hearing Association.

There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 89% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.

This article has been viewed 615,984 times.

When we talk to each other, we communicate with more than just the words we use. We watch each other’s body language, and we listen to people’s tone of voice. If you’re having a casual, happy conversation with someone, it’s important to speak in a friendly tone. To do this, adjust your speaking style and body language. You’ll soon sound as friendly as can be!


How is tone volume encoded? - Psychology

Tone Psychology Volume I The Sensation of Successive Single Tones Classic European Studies in the Science of Music *online_books*


How does the tone of voice in communication influence how messages are received?

What the researchers found about talking tone confirmed what many of us may already know intuitively – that communication is not just about what you say, but how you say it. And the data showed that studying the couple’s voices, rather than their behaviors, better predicted the eventual improvement or deterioration of the relationship.

“Psychological practitioners and researchers have long known that the way that partners talk about and discuss problems has important implications for the health of their relationships. However, the lack of efficient and reliable tools for measuring the important elements in those conversations has been a major impediment in their widespread clinical use. These findings represent a major step forward in making an objective measurement of behavior practical and feasible for couple therapists,” said collaborator Brian Baucom of the University of Utah.


Why would musical training benefit the neural encoding of speech? The OPERA hypothesis


Mounting evidence suggests that musical training benefits the neural encoding of speech. This paper offers a hypothesis specifying why such benefits occur. The “OPERA” hypothesis proposes that such benefits are driven by adaptive plasticity in speech-processing networks, and that this plasticity occurs when five conditions are met. These are: (1) Overlap: there is anatomical overlap in the brain networks that process an acoustic feature used in both music and speech (e.g., waveform periodicity, amplitude envelope), (2) Precision: music places higher demands on these shared networks than does speech, in terms of the precision of processing, (3) Emotion: the musical activities that engage this network elicit strong positive emotion, (4) Repetition: the musical activities that engage this network are frequently repeated, and (5) Attention: the musical activities that engage this network are associated with focused attention. According to the OPERA hypothesis, when these conditions are met neural plasticity drives the networks in question to function with higher precision than needed for ordinary speech communication. Yet since speech shares these networks with music, speech processing benefits. The OPERA hypothesis is used to account for the observed superior subcortical encoding of speech in musically trained individuals, and to suggest mechanisms by which musical training might improve linguistic reading abilities.


Abstract. This study investigated how resource allocation to and encoding of irrelevant peripheral information (advertisements) varied as a function of the emotional tone of a central event (movie clip) and website complexity (number of advertisements). Secondary task reaction times (STRTs) and ad recognition accuracy were used to test the predictions. Two competing hypotheses – a memory narrowing hypothesis and an escape hypothesis – were posed to explain encoding of advertisements paired with negative arousing movie clips at the highest level of website complexity. The results were more supportive of the memory narrowing hypothesis participants had more resources while viewing positive rather than negative movies and advertisements were encoded better when they were presented with positive rather than negative movie clips. However, for calm movie clips this difference showed at the lowest level of website complexity, but gradually diminished as the level of complexity increased.

Bakalash, T., & Riemer, H. ( 2013 ). Exploring ad-elicited emotional arousal and memory for the ad using fMRI . Journal of Advertising , 42(4), 275–291. https://doi.org/10.1080/00913367.2013.768065 First citation in articleCrossref, Google Scholar

Belanche, D., Flavián, C., & Pérez-Rueda, A. ( 2017 ). Understanding interactive online advertising: Congruence and product involvement in highly and lowly arousing, skippable video ads . Journal of Interactive Marketing , 37, 75–88. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intmar.2016.06.004 First citation in articleCrossref, Google Scholar

Brewer, W. ( 1986 ). What is autobiographical memory? In D. C. Rubin Ed. , Autobiographical memory (pp. 25–49). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. First citation in articleGoogle Scholar

Cacioppo, J. T., & Gardner, W. L. ( 1999 ). Emotion . Annual Review of Psychology , 50, 191–214. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.50.1.191 First citation in articleCrossref, Google Scholar

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How memories form and fade

Why is it that you can remember the name of your childhood best friend that you haven't seen in years yet easily forget the name of a person you just met a moment ago? In other words, why are some memories stable over decades, while others fade within minutes?

Using mouse models, Caltech researchers have now determined that strong, stable memories are encoded by "teams" of neurons all firing in synchrony, providing redundancy that enables these memories to persist over time. The research has implications for understanding how memory might be affected after brain damage, such as by strokes or Alzheimer's disease.

The work was done in the laboratory of Carlos Lois, research professor of biology, and is described in a paper that appears in the August 23 of the journal Science. Lois is also an affiliated faculty member of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech.

Led by postdoctoral scholar Walter Gonzalez, the team developed a test to examine mice's neural activity as they learn about and remember a new place. In the test, a mouse was placed in a straight enclosure, about 5 feet long with white walls. Unique symbols marked different locations along the walls -- for example, a bold plus sign near the right-most end and an angled slash near the center. Sugar water (a treat for mice) was placed at either end of the track. While the mouse explored, the researchers measured the activity of specific neurons in the mouse hippocampus (the region of the brain where new memories are formed) that are known to encode for places.

When an animal was initially placed in the track, it was unsure of what to do and wandered left and right until it came across the sugar water. In these cases, single neurons were activated when the mouse took notice of a symbol on the wall. But over multiple experiences with the track, the mouse became familiar with it and remembered the locations of the sugar. As the mouse became more familiar, more and more neurons were activated in synchrony by seeing each symbol on the wall. Essentially, the mouse was recognizing where it was with respect to each unique symbol.

To study how memories fade over time, the researchers then withheld the mice from the track for up to 20 days. Upon returning to the track after this break, mice that had formed strong memories encoded by higher numbers of neurons remembered the task quickly. Even though some neurons showed different activity, the mouse's memory of the track was clearly identifiable when analyzing the activity of large groups of neurons. In other words, using groups of neurons enables the brain to have redundancy and still recall memories even if some of the original neurons fall silent or are damaged.

Gonzalez explains: "Imagine you have a long and complicated story to tell. In order to preserve the story, you could tell it to five of your friends and then occasionally get together with all of them to re-tell the story and help each other fill in any gaps that an individual had forgotten. Additionally, each time you re-tell the story, you could bring new friends to learn and therefore help preserve it and strengthen the memory. In an analogous way, your own neurons help each other out to encode memories that will persist over time."

Memory is so fundamental to human behavior that any impairment to memory can severely impact our daily life. Memory loss that occurs as part of normal aging can be a significant handicap for senior citizens. Moreover, memory loss caused by several diseases, most notably Alzheimer's, has devastating consequences that can interfere with the most basic routines including recognizing relatives or remembering the way back home. This work suggests that memories might fade more rapidly as we age because a memory is encoded by fewer neurons, and if any of these neurons fail, the memory is lost. The study suggests that one day, designing treatments that could boost the recruitment of a higher number of neurons to encode a memory could help prevent memory loss.

"For years, people have known that the more you practice an action, the better chance that you will remember it later," says Lois. "We now think that this is likely, because the more you practice an action, the higher the number of neurons that are encoding the action. The conventional theories about memory storage postulate that making a memory more stable requires the strengthening of the connections to an individual neuron. Our results suggest that increasing the number of neurons that encode the same memory enables the memory to persist for longer."

The paper is titled "Persistence of neuronal representations through time and damage in the hippocampus." In addition to Gonzalez and Lois, co-authors are undergraduate Hanwen Zhang and former lab technician Anna Harutyunyan. Funding was provided by the American Heart Association, the Della Martin Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and a BRAIN Initiative grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.


Chapter 1 – Where to begin: your values

A tone of voice is an expression of a company’s values and way of thinking. It cannot be plucked from thin air, created on a whim or entirely based on a trend you think is cool. Rather, it must grow out of who you already are as a company. Not who you might be tomorrow, but what you look and sound like today.

Pinning down your values acts as a kind of background work – before you can think about how you write, you must decide on what you write.

This must start with the obvious yet easily forgotten question: what is it you want to tell the world? It is only once you define the core purpose of your communication that you can start to build your tone of voice.

In order to identify your values, here are a few questions to ask yourself. If possible, get other people in your company to join in and then see what everyone’s answers have in common. (Turning this into a collaborative process may also help with getting buy-in from different departments, as discussed in my final chapter on implementation.)

Why was the company set up in the first place?

Get back to the initial spark of excitement behind the company’s creation. Beyond earning an income, what was the drive behind it all?

“The reason for the company’s existence is clear – to unclog the roads and thereby help look after the natural environment.”

Car-sharing service Zipcar asks its website visitors to ‘Imagine a world with one million fewer cars in the world’. The reason for the company’s existence is clear – to unclog the roads and thereby help look after the natural environment. This mission to encourage greener living, then, propels the rest of its copy and approach to language. For instance, its call for people to join its members club doesn’t focus on added luxury or convenience, but instead asks, ‘Want to make a real impact?’

Women’s lifestyle brand Libertine is another example of a brand that asserts a clear mission to its work. The founders wanted to ‘redefine the women’s media landscape by celebrating inner life over outer appearance’. Libertine, thus, addresses an area previously neglected by the media – inner beauty. The brand states its core values as, ‘character, curiosity, wit and good manners.’ In turn, these values shape its copy for example, Libertine’s curiosity means that it asks a lot of questions, its good manners means that it avoids overly blunt sentences and commands such as ‘do this’ and ‘watch that’.

I asked founder Debbi Evans about Libertine’s approach to writing

Q. How did you go about shaping your tone of voice?

I think it’s a bit easier to define a tone of voice when you’re a publication as a lot of it will come from the editor, and you’ve got sub-editors to help you keep it consistent. A lot of it did evolve naturally as in the very early days we were still trying to work out exactly who we wanted to be, and several of our core values and interests were a bit contradictory. (I am thinking, in particular, of trying to embrace the finer things in life while being tech nerds here. The former is about luxury – traditionally a very closed and elitist subject – the latter is all about open source, collaboration, cooperation – could we embrace one without negating the other?) I think in the end if your interest and enthusiasm for both comes across as equally genuine then you’re OK.

Q. Was it difficult to pin down your core values?

We almost started with our core values before anything else – a few years of research had taught me that consistency with those was key to being authentic from a consumer perspective. We looked at women we thought were awesome – Joan Didion, Angela Carter, Ada Lovelace – and tried to imagine what characteristics might be common to all of them: Wit, character, curiosity and good manners. I know the latter is a socially loaded term but it’s OK to be a bit provocative!

Q. Do you have any particular rules or approaches when it comes to writing?

Do a rushed first draft to get everything onto the page – try not to self-edit (this is really hard!) Then go back and rework, slowly, and read your writing out loud. There’s nothing more effective for getting an idea of your tone and flow than when you’re reading it out to someone corrections are much easier.

Q. Is there a line or piece of copy that you are especially proud of?

‘Celebrating inner life over outer appearance’ felt effective when we first used it. Women’s magazines are so loaded with clichés it was important to get something that felt completely different to that.

Q. Are there any brands’ tone of voices that you particularly like?

The winner is still the Economist. Monocle also deserves a nod – they’ve developed such a strong brand they’ve even got a (very funny) lorem ipsum, made by an admiring designer.

What basic human value does your company offer?


Difference Between Voice and Tone

Voice vs Tone

Most of the people think voice and tone as synonymous as they are sometimes used interchangeably. These two are very slippery words that most often people do not come across any big difference. Well, it is not that voice and tone are one and the same but there exists a wide difference between these two words.

Voice can be referred to a writer’s attitude towards his subject or readers. Tone can be termed as that reflects the mood of a writer. A writer can have different tones while raising his voice.

A writer can use various voice like satirical, patronizing or humorous in his writing. But tone attributes to the tone in which he presents his writings. While voice can be attributed as a writer’s representation of the truth that he depicts, tone can be said to be representation of his feelings or attitudes.

Unlike tone, voice can be considered as a writer’s style. It is the voice and not tone that differentiates one writer from another. It is the voice that makes his writing unique. It is through the voice that readers come to know about a writer’s character and personality.

When we speak of voice, it can be said to be referring to truth, honesty, power and authority of a writer. But tone does not refer to truth, power, honesty and power of a writer.

While voice represents the personality of a writer, tone only describes his mood or his feelings. In a sense voice can be called as authoritative and tone as something that is strong.

When voice can be termed as satirical, humorous and patronizing, tone can be differentiated as strong, soft and moderate.

The readers hear through your voice what you have rendered in your writings. Tone is the way by which you create a piece of work that attributes your mood.

When coming to conversations, voice and tone differ much. A person can talk in a high voice but the tone might be low and vice versa. While tone refers to the emotional aspects of a speaker, voice is something related to the pitch. The different ways of expression can determine a person’s mood or attitude, which represents his tone of character. But a voice cannot determine the mood of a person.

1.Voice can be referred to a writer’s attitude towards his subject or readers. Tone can be termed as that reflects the mood of a writer.
2.While voice can be attributed as a writer’s representation of the truth that he depicts, tone only pertains to his attitude.
3.Voice can be called as authoritative and tone as something that is strong.