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NCJ Number: 50921 Find in a Library
Title: SPEECH STYLE AND IMPRESSION FORMATION IN A COURT SETTING - THE EFFECTS OF 'POWERFUL' AND 'POWERLESS' SPEECH
Journal: JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY  Volume:14  Issue:2  Dated:(MAY 1978)  Pages:266-279
Author(s): B ERICKSON; E A LIND; B C JOHNSON; W M O'BARR
Corporate Author: Academic Press, Inc
Promotions Manager
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Academic Press, Inc
San Diego, CA 92101-4495
Duke University
Durham, NC 27706
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230
Grant Number: GS-42742
Sale Source: Duke University
Dept of Anthropology
Law and Language Program
Durham, NC 27706
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: ON THE BASIS OF A PREVIOUS EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF SPEECH PATTERNS IN COURT TRIALS, SPEECH STYLES WERE IDENTIFIED THAT VARIED WITH SPEAKER SOCIAL STATUS AND POWER. THE EFFECT OF THESE SPEECH STYLES ON OTHERS IS TESTED.
Abstract: THIS STUDY PREPARED TAPED SIMULATIONS OF COURTROOM TESTIMONY AND TRANSCRIPTIONS OF SIMILAR TESTIMONY, USING BOTH 'POWERLESS' AND 'POWERFUL' SPEECH STYLES. THE 'POWERLESS' STYLE IS CHARACTERIZED BY THE FREQUENT USE OF INTENSIFIERS, HEDGES, HESITATION FORMS, AND QUESTIONING INTONATIONS, WHEREAS THE 'POWERFUL' STYLE IS MARKED BY LESS FREQUENT USE OF THESE FEATURES. A SAMPLE OF 152 UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS (73 MALE AND 79 FEMALE) WERE ASKED TO RATE THE WITNESSES ON THE BASIS OF AN 11-POINT SEMANTIC DIFFERENTIAL-TYPE RATING SCALE. THE TESTIMONY CONCERNED AN AUTO ACCIDENT, AND THE STUDENTS WERE ASKED TO INDICATE THE AMOUNT OF DAMAGES THAT THEY FELT THE PLAINTIFF SHOULD RECEIVE. SPEECH STYLE DID NOT AFFECT PERCEPTIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACCIDENT, BUT WHEN THE TESTIMONY WAS TAPED, SUBJECTS RECOMMENDED HIGHER DAMAGES IF THE WITNESS USED A POWERFUL SPEECH STYLE. THIS HELD TRUE FOR BOTH FEMALE AND MALE WITNESSES. THIS EFFECT WAS LACKING, HOWEVER, WHEN THE SUBJECTS READ TRANSCRIBED TESTIMONY. THE FEMALE SPEAKER WAS SEEN AS MORE ATTRACTIVE IN THE ORAL PRESENTATION WHILE MALE SPEAKER WAS SEEN AS MORE ATTRACTIVE IN THE WRITTEN PRESENTATION. A BIAS IN FAVOR OF THE MORE POWERFUL SPEECH PATTERNS WAS SEEN IN BOTH THE ORAL AND WRITTEN FORMS, AND BOTH FEMALE AND MALE STUDENTS SAW THE POWERFUL WITNESS AS MORE ATTRACTIVE AND CREDIBLE. THE EFFECTS OF THIS POSSIBLE BIAS ON LEGAL PROCEEDINGS IS DISCUSSED. REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (GLR)
Index Term(s): Behavioral science research; Psychological evaluation; Studies; Testimony; Witnesses
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50921

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