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Celerity and Cajolery: Rapid Speech May Promote or Inhibit Persuasion through its Impact on Message Elaboration

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The present experiment tests credibility-cue and elaboration likelihood (ELM) hypotheses about the effect of compressed speech on message-based persuasion. Participants heard either a proattitudinal or a counterattitudinal message on an involving topic, delivered at a slow (144 words per minute), an intermediate (182 wpm), or a rapid (214 wpm) rate of speech. Consistent with the ELM predictions, rapid speech suppressed the tendency to rebut the counterattitudinal message and enhanced persuasion, whereas the same rapid speech rate inhibited favorable elaboration of the proattitudinal message while undermining its persuasive impact. Thus, a distinctly faster than normal rate of speech on an involving topic can either promote or inhibit persuasion by its impact on message elaboration. The generality of these speech rate effects and the conditions under which rapid speech might serve as a peripheral (i.e., credibility) cue are discussed.
... te increases it becomes more difficult for people to carefully consider the merits of the arguments being presented (i.e., to cognitively elaborate the message). Supporting this view, several studies have found that at comparatively fast rates of speech, people's ability to cognitively elaborate persuasive messages is undermined Moore et al., 1986;S. M. Smith & Shaffer, 1991. ...
... A second explanation for the effect of speech rate on persuasion is that people tend to perceive fast speakers as more credible than slow speakers (Miller et al., 1976). Evidence for this mechanism has been mixed. Some studies have failed to find clear evidence that speech rate affects persuasion via perceived speaker credibility S. M. Smith & Shaffer, 1991;Woodall & Burgoon, 1983), whereas other studies have reported evidence consistent with this explanation (Miller et al., 1976). Some studies have suggested credibility might only explain speech rate effects when motivation to elaborate messages is low and thus people use credibility as a cue to infer their attitudes (S. M. Smith & Shaffer ...
... d to manipulate speech rate present interpretational ambiguities. Typically, speech rate has been manipulated either by instructing speakers to talk fast or slow (e.g., Miller et al., 1976;Woodall & Burgoon, 1983) or forcibly increasing speech rate by compressing an analog audio file through rerecording the original track (e.g., Moore et al., 1986;S. M. Smith & Shaffer, 1991. Problematically, by instructing a person to speak fast or slow, this may inadvertently introduce changes to multiple properties of voice (e.g., volume, pitch), which may confound the manipulation. Similarly, forcibly compressing an audio file could potentially alter other parameters of voice. ...
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Three experiments were designed to investigate the effects and psychological mechanisms of three vocal qualities on persuasion. Experiment 1 (N = 394) employed a 2 (elaboration: high vs. low) × 2 (vocal speed: fast vs. slow) × 2 (vocal intonation: falling vs. rising) between-participants factorial design. As predicted, vocal speed and vocal intonation influenced global perceptions of speaker confidence. Under high-elaboration, vocal confidence biased thought-favorability, which influenced attitudes. Under low-elaboration, vocal confidence directly influenced attitudes as a peripheral cue. Experiments 2 (N = 412) and 3 (N = 397) conceptually replicated the bias and cue effects in Experiment 1, using a 2 (elaboration: high vs. low) × 2 (vocal pitch: raised vs. lowered) between-participants factorial design. Vocal pitch influenced perceptions of speaker confidence as predicted. These studies demonstrate that changes in three vocal properties influence global perceptions of speaker confidence, influencing attitudes via different mediating processes moderated by amount of thought. Evaluation of alternative mediators in Experiments 2 and 3 failed to support these alternatives to global perceptions of speaker confidence.
... We find evidence suggesting that a/p features of the synthesized statements affect response times (a well-known proxy for cognitive load). In line with literature exploring conflict between the verbal and the vocal channels as well as with literature on persuasiveness and prosody [13], our results indicate that the same configurations of a/p features associated with faster response times when subjects believe the statements to be true are also associated with slower response times when they do not hold this belief. These results suggest that prosody in synthesized speech may play a role of either facilitation or interference when subjects judge the truthfulness of statements, and that this effect might depend on their prior beliefs. ...
... The fact that even for women low pitch is associated to dominance [28,29], goes in hand with our finding that pitch has an already significant effect even when it is not measured relative to the listeners' voices. On speech rate, our results go in hand with Smith and Shaffer's [13] results, which state that persuasion depends on the message being delivered, finding that for pro-attitudinal/counter-attitudinal messages, slowing down speech seems to improve/lessen persuasion. Finally, regarding intensity, a less studied feature, for which there is not a clear consensus on its effect on trustworthiness and persuasion (see [30]); our results suggest again that the effect depends on subjects' prior beliefs, where high intensity interferes with judgement when subjects' regard the statements to be true and facilitates it when they do not. ...
... Suppose we present the same oral message to two groups, with one group having the message presented in a slow voice and the other in a fast voice (cf. Smith & Shaffer, 1991). Using this method, we can see not only the changes expected on a focal dependent variable (such as speaker credibility), but we can also see the changes on other concepts that may be "linked to"-or associated with-the focal concept (such as support for a message counterargument). ...
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Galileo multidimensional scaling (MDS) provides a way of mapping conceptual configurations of attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and emotions in individuals, groups, and cultures, as well as a way to compare such configurations to predict and observe their change over time. Given this analytical power, Galileo MDS is well suited for studying media psychology regarding how media and the changing media environment relate to human cognition, emotion, and behavior. This entry explains the assumptions related to Galileo MDS as well as the steps needed to use this model effectively. Finally, it provides examples that elucidate the analytical potential of this approach.
... One is to measure naturalistic variation in speakers' acoustic features and explore correlations between speakers' cues and some measure of persuasion (e.g., Burgoon, Birk, & Pfau, 1990;Oksenberg, Coleman, & Cannell, 1986;Packwood, 1974). The other approach is to manipulate the magnitude of specific cues of interest (i.e., "high" vs. "low" levels of the cue) through either the use of trained actors (e.g., Miller, Maruyama, Beaber, & Vallone, 1976;Woodall & Burgoon, 1983) or the electronic modification of recordings (e.g., Guyer, Fabrigar, & Vaughan-Johnston, 2019;Moore, Hausknecht, & Thamodaran, 1986;Smith & Shaffer, 1991, 1995. ...
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Contributions: Brunswik Society Newsletter 2019
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This article unpacks the basic mechanisms by which paralinguistic features communicated through the voice can affect evaluative judgments and persuasion. Special emphasis is placed on exploring the rapidly emerging literature on vocal features linked to appraisals of confidence (e.g., vocal pitch, intonation, speech rate, loudness, etc.), and their subsequent impact on information processing and meta-cognitive processes of attitude change. The main goal of this review is to advance understanding of the different psychological processes by which paralinguistic markers of confidence can affect attitude change, specifying the conditions under which they are more likely to operate. In sum, we highlight the importance of considering basic mechanisms of attitude change to predict when and why appraisals of paralinguistic markers of confidence can lead to more or less persuasion.
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em>For five decades researchers investigated whether increasing the speed of the delivery of a persuasive message produces more message comprehension and attitude change. The experimental literature on this issue appears inconsistent, with many mediating variables introduced in an effort to reconcile disparate findings. This meta-analysis seeks to determine how persuasion is influenced by the rate of message delivery. The data provide support for a curvilinear model, indicating that persuasion is maximal for moderate speech rates. Results are discussed in terms of source credibility and mechanisms of message processing.</em
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This chapter outlines the two basic routes to persuasion. One route is based on the thoughtful consideration of arguments central to the issue, whereas the other is based on the affective associations or simple inferences tied to peripheral cues in the persuasion context. This chapter discusses a wide variety of variables that proved instrumental in affecting the elaboration likelihood, and thus the route to persuasion. One of the basic postulates of the Elaboration Likelihood Model—that variables may affect persuasion by increasing or decreasing scrutiny of message arguments—has been highly useful in accounting for the effects of a seemingly diverse list of variables. The reviewers of the attitude change literature have been disappointed with the many conflicting effects observed, even for ostensibly simple variables. The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) attempts to place these many conflicting results and theories under one conceptual umbrella by specifying the major processes underlying persuasion and indicating the way many of the traditionally studied variables and theories relate to these basic processes. The ELM may prove useful in providing a guiding set of postulates from which to interpret previous work and in suggesting new hypotheses to be explored in future research. Copyright © 1986 Academic Press Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Previous research on the effects of vocal rate on credibility and persuasion has not carefully considered several methodological and theoretical issues. An investigation was conducted that controlled for a number of methodological factors, and considered different explanatory possibilities. Results indicated more complex and constrained relationships between rate of vocalization, credibility, and persuasion than some previous research had found, and were consistent with research in the person perception literature. Support for a straightforward credibility bolstering explanation was not found, and other explanatory rationales were considered.
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It is now possible, using electronic techniques, to speed up a radio commercial without a perceptible change in general voice quality. Results of experiments reported here suggest that radio advertisers might achieve a heightened impact, and require less time for their messages, if they use electronic speech compression.
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A paired comparison paradigm was employed to compare the listening rate preferences of 26 adult subjects for oral reading and impromptu speaking tasks. Recordings of a reading and speech were time-altered by means of a speech compressor to yield nine rates: 100, 125, 150, 175, 200, 225, 250, 275, and 300 wpm. Two master tapes were constructed, one for each of the two tasks investigated. The tapes were presented to each subject for listening rate preference judgments. Results of subjects'evaluations indicate that preferred listening rates are very similar for both oral reading and impromptu speaking tasks. The most preferred rate for both tasks was 175 wpm, and the least preferred rate for both tasks was 100 wpm. Comparison of the present findings with previous research and suggestions for future investigations are provided.
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Explored the hypothesis that the degree of liking which is nonverbally communicated to an addressee is a direct correlate of the intended persuasiveness of a communicator and the perceived persuasiveness of his communication. The nonverbal attitude-communication literature provided a basis for several derivative hypotheses relating to specific position, posture, facial, movement, and verbal cues. Findings supported the hypotheses and indicated that the intended persuasiveness of a communicator and the judged or perceived persuasiveness of his communication were correlated. Interpretations were provided for some movement cues whose referents were previously unclear and suggested a grouping of postural cues which together define total bodily relaxation. (31 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)