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The sound of status: People know high-power voices when they hear them

From the Association for Psychological Science press release

Being in a position of power can fundamentally change the way you speak, altering basic acoustic properties of the voice, and other people are able to pick up on these vocal cues to know who is really in charge, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

We tend to focus on our words when we want to come across as powerful to others, but these findings suggest that basic acoustic cues also play an important role:

This is a photo of a person holding a megaphone.“Our findings suggest that whether it’s parents attempting to assert authority over unruly children, haggling between a car salesman and customer, or negotiations between heads of states, the sound of the voices involved may profoundly determine the outcome of those interactions,” says psychological scientist and lead researcher Sei Jin Ko of San Diego State University.

The researchers had long been interested in non-language-related properties of speech, but it was former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher that inspired them to investigate the relationship between acoustic cues and power.

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November 28, 2014 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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