Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Vocal frequency and person perception: Effects of perceptual salience and nonverbal sensitivity

  • 87 Accesses

  • 6 Citations

Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated that changes in vocal frequency (pitch) influence judgments made about a speaker, although there is some question as to the relative importance of frequency to message content in person perception. Moreover, these studies have failed to examine the possible joint effect of frequency and individual differences in nonverbal sensitivity on person perception. The purpose of the present investigation was to examine the independent and joint effects of vocal frequency, perceptual salience, and nonverbal sensitivity (assessed by the Profile of Nonverbal Sensitivity) on person perception. Participants were assigned to one of nine experimental conditions and were asked to rate two male and two female speakers on seven unipolar adjective scales. The nine conditions were produced by factorially combining three levels each of salience (content, voice, control) and vocal frequency (decreased, increased, unmanipulated). The results of hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that variations in frequency did influence evaluative judgments of the speakers (competent, honest, persuasive), but that the magnitude of the influence varied as a function of the participants' levels of nonverbal sensitivity. The analyses, however, yielded no significant effects for participants' affective judgments, nor any significant effects involving perceptual salience.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Apple, W. (1981).A schema-based model for integrating visible and vocal cues. Unpublished manuscript, Columbia University.

  2. Apple, W., Streeter, L., & Krauss, R. M. (1979). The effects of pitch and speech rate on personal attributions.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 715–727.

  3. Bargh, J. A. (1984). Automatic and conscious processing of social information. In R. S. Wyer, Jr., & T. K. Scrull (Eds.),The handbook of social cognition. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Erlbaum.

  4. Bond, R. N., & Feldstein, S. (1982). Acoustical correlates of the perception of speech rate: An experimental investigation.Journal, of Psycholinguistic Research, 11, 539–557.

  5. Brown, B. L., Strong, W. J., & Rencher, A. C. (1974). Fitty-four voices from two: The effects of simultaneous manipulations of rate, mean fundamental frequency, and variance of fundamental frequency on ratings of personality from speechJournal of the Acoustical Society of America, 55, 313–318.

  6. Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983).Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Erlbaum.

  7. DePaulo, B. M., Zuckerman, M., & Rosenthal, R. (1980). Detecting deception: Modality effects. In L. Wheeler (Ed.),Review of personality and social psychology (Vol. 1). Beverly Hills: Sage.

  8. Feldstein, S. (1982). Impression formation in dyads: The temporal dimension. In M. Davis (Ed.),Interaction rhythms: Periodicity in communicative behavior. New York: Human Sciences.

  9. Hastorf, A. H., Schneider, D. J., & Polefka, J. (1970).Person perception. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.

  10. Heider, F. (1958).The psychology of interpersonal relations. New York: Wiley.

  11. Higgins, E. T., King, G. A., & Mavin, G. H. (1982). Individual construc accessibility and subjective impressions and recall.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 35–47.

  12. Higgins, E. T., Rholes, W. S., & Jones, C. R. (1977). Category accessibility and impression formation.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 13, 141–154.

  13. Kelley H. H. (1973). The process of causal attribution.American Psychologist, 28, 107–128.

  14. Langer, E. G. (1978). Rethinking the role of thought in social interaction. In J. H. Harvey, W. J. Ickes, & R. F. Kidd (Eds.),New directions in attribution research, Hillsdale, New Jersey: Erlbaum.

  15. Markus, H. (1977). Self-schemata and processing information about the self.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35, 63–78.

  16. Miller, D. T., & Ross, M. (1975). Self-serving biases in the attribution of causality: Fact or fiction?Psychological Bulletin, 82, 213–225.

  17. Miller, N., Maruyama, G., Beaber, R. J., & Valone, K. (1976). Speed of speech and persuasion.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, 615–624.

  18. Murray, H. A. (1938).Explorations in personality. New York: Oxford University Press.

  19. Orne, M. T. (1971). On the social psychology of the psychological experiment: With particular reference to demand characteristics and their implications. In J. Jung (Ed.),The experimenter's dilemma. New York: Harper & Row.

  20. Pedhazur, E. J. (1982),Multiple regression in behavioral research (2nd ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

  21. Rosenthal, R. (1966).Experimenter effects in behavioral research. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

  22. Rosenthal, R., Hall, J. A., Archer, D., DiMatteo, M. R., & Rogers, P. L. (1979a).The PONS test manual. New York: Irvington.

  23. Rosenthal, R., Hall, J. A., Archer, D., DiMatteo, M. R., & Rogers, P. L. (1979b). The PONS test: Measuring sensitivity to nonverbal cues. In S. Weitz (Ed.),Nonverbal communication. New York: Oxford University Press.

  24. Rosenthal, R., Hall, J. A., DiMatteo, M. R., Rogers, P. L., & Archer, D. (1979).Sensitivity to nonverbal communication: The PONS test. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

  25. Scherer, K. R. (1979). Acoustic concomitants of emotional dimensions: Judging affect from synthesized tone sequences. In S. Weitz (Ed.),Nonverbal communication. New York: Oxford University Press.

  26. Scherer K. R., & Oshinsky, J. S. (1977). Cue utilization in emotion attribution from auditory stimuli.Motivation and Emotion, 1, 331–346.

  27. Schneider, D. J. (1976).Social psychology, Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.

  28. Schneider, D. J., Hastorf, A. H., & Ellsworth, P. C. (1979).person perception. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.

  29. Streeter, L. A., Krauss, R. M., Geller, V., Olson, C., & Apple, W. (1979). Pitch changes during attempted deception. In S. Weitz (Ed.),Nonverbal communication. New York: Oxford University Press.

  30. Taguiri, R. (1969). Person perception. In G. Lindzey & E. Aronson (Eds.),The handbook of social psychology (2nd ed., Vol. 3). Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.

  31. Taylor, S. E., & Crocker, J. (1979). Schematic bases of social information processing. In E. T. Higgins, P. Herman & M. P. Zanna (Eds.),The Ontario symposium on personality and social psychology (Vol. 1). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Erlbaum.

  32. Taylor, S. E., & Fiske, S. T. (1978). Salience, attention, and attribution: Top of the head phenomena. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.),Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 2), New York: Academic Press.

  33. Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1974). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases.Science, 185, 1125–1131.

  34. Williams, C. E., & Stevens, K. N. (1979). Emotions and speech: Some acoustical correlates. In S. Weitz (Ed.),Nonverbal communication. New York: Oxford University Press.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Joan Welkowitz.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bond, R.N., Welkowitz, J., Goldschmidt, H. et al. Vocal frequency and person perception: Effects of perceptual salience and nonverbal sensitivity. J Psycholinguist Res 16, 335–350 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01069287

Download citation

Keywords

  • Regression Analysis
  • Individual Difference
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Multiple Regression Analysis
  • Joint Effect