econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 10 July 2017

We Change Our Voice When We Talk To High-status People, Shows New Study

from The Conversation

-- this post authored by Viktoria Mileva, University of Stirling and Juan David Leongómez, El Bosque University

Imagine going for a job interview and the employer sitting across from you is truly intimidating. He's big, bold, loud and mean-looking. What might this do to your confidence? To your mannerisms? To your way of speaking?


Please share this article - Go to very top of page, right hand side for social media buttons.


Our latest study has found that men and women generally speak with higher-pitched voices to interviewers they think are high in social status. However, we found that people who thought they themselves were quite dominant, were less likely to vary their pitch and generally spoke in a lower pitch when talking to someone of high social status. On the other hand, people who considered themselves to be prestigious talked in a measured way, not increasing or decreasing the volume of their voice very much.

Dominance and prestige are two ways to acquire high social status. Dominance means taking power by force and coercion (imagine a bully), while prestige is being freely given power due to one's skills and merits (imagine your favourite teacher).

Men and women might speak with higher-pitched voices towards high status people because a low-pitched voice sounds dominant, particularly in men, while a high-pitched voice sounds relatively submissive. Using a high-pitched voice would signal to an employer that the interviewee is not a threat, and may serve to avoid confrontations.

And what vocal pitch would you bring to this role? LightField Studios / shutterstock

The differences we found with participants' self-perceived social status (that is, high dominance equals lower pitch, and high prestige equals constant volume) implies that there is a relationship between self-perception of social status and behaviour towards others. The more dominant you feel, the less you need to worry about other people's dominance, so you talk how you want. At the same time, the more prestigious you feel the more calm and relaxed you may be, which may be why people started looking up to you in the first place.

Our 'fake interview' experiment

In our study we asked 48 participants to sit at a computer with a headset and web camera pointed towards them, in order to test a "new form of online interviewing procedure". This was a ruse, but we wanted everyone to believe that the interviewers they saw on screen were real and would be listening and looking at the recordings later.

Would you work for these men? a.) Neutral b.) Dominant c.) Prestigious. Leongómez et al (2017), Author provided

Participants were presented with an image, name, and job title of an employer as well as an employee testimonial, which were all fictitious. They were then asked to answer several questions. There were three employers in total and their images were specially created using a program called EvoFit to look dominant or prestigious. Later we got these images rated by a different set of participants and picked the ones that were rated very high in dominance or prestige. We also picked one that was rated quite low on both of these traits, and this became our "neutral" employer.

By pairing up the images with testimonials, names, and job titles, we were able to create employers who were high in dominance, prestige, or just quite average (neutral). When being interviewed by the dominant or high prestige employers, our participants' voices became higher pitched. When talking to the neutral employer, they did not change their way of speaking.

We also looked at how different types of questions affect speech characteristics. That is, would people change the way they speak when told to "introduce yourself" compared to when asked "how would you approach your boss to discuss a problem with a colleague?". As you might imagine, the second question, which is much more interpersonal and also requires someone to discuss a conflict, caused more speech changes than the simple introduction question.

Our findings show that we subtly manipulate our voices to suit particular social contexts we are faced with (such as talking to a scary employer). We most likely do this without even thinking about it.

The ConversationThese manipulations in turn affect the way we are perceived. Just like body posture, the language we use, or our facial shape and expressions, our voices are part of the arsenal of signals that affect perceptions of social status.

Viktoria Mileva, Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology, University of Stirling and Juan David Leongómez, Assistant Professor of Evolutionary Psychology, El Bosque University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical News Post Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted. You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.




Econintersect Contributors








search_box
Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.







Keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government





























 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2017 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved