Tuesday, February 24, 1998 at 22:16:51

An area which I have had an interest in for a while, but have not had a chance to study is the question of whether a person's FP rate increases when they are conscious of it being monitored. e.g. A person who you are conversing with normally will have a certain FP rate. Will this rate increase when you tell the person that this is what you are listening out for. My hypothesis is that it would increase significantly.

- KH

You have an interesting hypothesis which seems sensible with respect to common sense.  However, the literature I have seen so far suggests something slightly different.  In essence, I perceive the issue is the influence of the additional anxiety felt by the subject when it is known that his/her FPs are being monitored.   In several studies (most by A. W. Siegman and B. Pope, see below) anxiety is found to be correlate signficantly only with silent pauses.  That is, as their subjects' anxiety increased so did the frequency and duration of their silent pauses.  Filled pauses appear, however, to be related to cognitive function.  That is when the task is more difficult (e.g., as in their studies, defining an abstract rather than a concrete noun) FPs increase.

Selected References: Siegman & Pope, 1965; Siegman & Pope, 1966; Reynolds & Paivio, 1968.

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