Perceived differences in social status between speaker and listener affect the speaker's vocal characteristics

Image credit: Juan David Leongómez 2017

Resumen

Non-verbal behaviours, including voice characteristics during speech, are an important way to communicate social status. Research suggests that individuals can obtain high social status through dominance (using force and intimidation) or through prestige (by being knowledgeable and skillful). However, little is known regarding differences in the vocal behaviour of men and women in response to dominant and prestigious individuals. Here, we tested within-subject differences in vocal parameters of interviewees during simulated job inter-views with dominant, prestigious, and neutral employers (targets), while responding to questions which were classified as introductory, personal, and interpersonal. We found that vocal modulations were apparent between responses to the neutral and high-status targets, with participants, especially those who perceived themselves as low in dominance, increasing fundamental frequency (F0) in response to the dominant and prestigious targets relative to the neutral target. Self-perceived prestige, however, was less related to contextual vocal modulations than self-perceived dominance. Finally, we found that differences in the context of the interview questions participants were asked to respond to (introductory, personal, interpersonal), also affected their vocal parameters, being more prominent in responses to personal and interpersonal questions. Overall, our results suggest that people adjust their vocal parameters according to the perceived social status of the listener as well as their own self-perceived social status.

Publicación
PLoS One, 12(6), e0179407
Juan David Leongómez
Juan David Leongómez
Profesor Asociado

Mis intereses de investigación incluyen los procesos de selección de pareja y la comunicación vocal en humanos, con una aspiración hacia la comprensión de la musicalidad. También estoy interesado en bioacústica y psicoacústica, así como en estadística y programación en .

Viktoria R. Mileva
Viktoria R. Mileva
Investigadora Posdoctoral

Investigadora Posdoctoral (Division of Psychology, University of Stirling, Stirling, Reino Unido).

S. Craig Roberts
S. Craig Roberts
Profesor Titular

Profesor Titular de Etología Humana (Division of Psychology, University of Stirling, Stirling, Reino Unido), y Presidente de la International Society for Human Ethology (ISHE).

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