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June 28, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

Answering the Spread Critique in Policy Debate–More Answers

These were posted on the Cross-x forum.

WARNING: I’m not a fan of #4. I would totally leave it off the frontline and replace it with something that more effectively answers the core claims of the speed bad argument. Also check out the comments section.

1. Turn: spreading boosts short term memory, key to education and everyday life
Psychology Today October 1992
(report of the results of the Raine et al study)

“If friends criticize you for talking too fast, at least they can’t also accuse you of having a bad memory. Speech rate is a strong index of short-term memory span… ‘Therefore, the faster you can talk, the greater your short-term memory,’ says Adrian Raine, PhD, a University of Southern California psychologist. The link has been established for adults for some time, Raine reports in Child Development. Now, he and his colleagues find the correlation holds for kids as well, a finding that promises short-term payoff in the classroom and long-term payoff in life. Short-term memory is the power behind recall of phone numbers, directions, and other everyday tasks. It is also the foundation of arithmetic and reading skills… That raises the possibility that speech- training may be a short-cut to achievement.” (p.14)

2. How fast is ‘too fast’? There’s no bright line, my partner’s pretty sure i’m moving along way too slow now

3. Turn: Talking faster increases memory, preventing losses with age

Hulme, Charles & Mackenzie, Susie. (1992). Working Memory and Severe
Learning Difficulties. Hillsdale, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Pg 45

“These results are striking in that the same linear function relating recall to speech rate fits the results for all age groups. Subjects of different ages in this study all recalled, on average, as much as they could say in roughly 1.5 seconds. Increases in memory span with age are seen to be very closely related to changes in speech rate with age. Thus the results of these different studies are remarkably clear and consistent. The dramatic improvements in serial recall performance with increasing age are closely and quantitatively related to changes in speech rate. In terms of the articulatory loop theory, which gave impetus to these studies, the length of the loop appears to remain constant across different ages; more material is stored in this system because it can be spoken and so rehearsed more rapidly. These results, relating developmental increases in speech rate to increases in short-term memory efficiency, lead quite directly to a simple causal theory: That increases in memory span with age depend upon increases in speech rate. Needless to say, however, such a theory is not necessitated by the findings. The findings are essentially correlational; as children get older their speech rate increases and in line with this so does their memory performance. It could be that both these changes depend upon some other factor. The obvious way to test this causal theory is to conduct a training study. If short-term memory depends upon speech rate, if we can successfully train children to speak faster, then this should, according to the theory, lead to a corresponding increase in short-term memory. (p.45)

4. Turn: speed solves elitism: you can come from a poor background and practice an hour a day spreading anything, newspapers or books, and you’ll be a better debater for it. Without speed debate would be for the rich elite only.

5. Turn: expanded working memory is critical to literacy and math
Hulme, Charles & Mackenzie, Susie. (1992). Working Memory and Severe
Learning Difficulties. Hillsdale, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Pg 21

“In its broadest sense, working memory refers to the use of temporary storage mechanisms in the performance of more complex tasks. So, for example, in order to read and understand prose, we must be able to hold incoming information in memory. This is necessary in order to compute the semantic and syntactic relationships among successive words, phrases, and sentences and so construct a coherent and meaningful representation of the meaning of the text. This temporary storage of information during reading is said to depend on working memory. In this view the ability to understand prose will depend on, among other things, the capacity of a person’s working memory system. Such temporary storage of information is obviously necessary for the performance of a wide variety of other tasks apart from reading, such as mental arithmetic (Hitch, 1978) and verbal reasoning (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974).”

6. Turn: spreading increases education by allowing a discussion of more issues, if we couldn’t read a bunch of answers we couldn’t have a tenth the depth of a good fast round

7. Turn: Speed is critical linguistic abilities
Stine, Elizabeth L., Wingfield, Arthur, & Poon, Leonard. (1986). How much
and how fast: Rapid processing of spoken language in later adulthood.
Psychology and Aging, vol. 1, no. 4, 303-311. P.303

“At a very fast rate, several things must be accomplished. The various processes required to recode linguistic stimuli into meaning have been articulated for both spoken language (Just & Carpenter, 1980; Marslen-Wilson & Tyler, 1980) and written text (Kintsch & vanDijk, 1978; J. Miller & Kintsch, 1980). There must be some initial phase in which the stimulus is encoded, physical features (visual or acoustic) are extracted, and lexical access is achieved (Just & Carpenter, 1980). Next, the language content must be parsed into meaningful idea units in which relationships are determined among words (Kintsch & vanDijk, 1978). These relationships are typically represented in terms of propositions consisting of a predicate and one or more arguments that are related by the predicate. Third, relationships between idea units of the text must be established in order to construct overall structural coherence in the text. Finally, the text must be related to and integrated with world knowledge. Although such processes would undoubtedly have to work in both a top-down and bottom-up fashion, the output at each of these stages would have to be held in an online working memory for an effective integration of meaning.”

8. Turn: fast debate is more fun, it adds such a new level of depth to debate, speed is indispensable to it, I’d probably quit if I couldn’t go fast



Leave a Comment
  1. compassioninpolitics / Jun 28 2013 1:36 pm

    This is my commentary on the frontline:

    In terms of #4. Its not a very good argument–in fact its easily turn-able.
    Speed probably increases elitism–particularly in terms of money.
    a) Rich schools are priviledge in speed debate (more coaches = more evidence + more coaches = more efficient use of speed)
    The metaphor for this is the speed of globalization creating centralization for the US. Its a multiplier effect.

    I would also suggest at least one answer more directly answer the claims of the speed critique around ability/disability……or whatever they are saying.
    I think the top level competition versus muted competition is one way to make this argument. Its simple, Averageness versus excellence. Thats exactly what plagues
    the middle class. They feel like they can’t achieve–they must be in some range versus at the top of their game.

  2. compassioninpolitics / Jun 29 2013 1:50 am

    I might also suggest at least looking at this thread (I haven’t read it yet).

    There have been a number of threads on Cross-x that deal with this topic.

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