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Cognitive and emotional determinants of speech

Allan Reynolds and Allan Paivio

Forty-eight university students differing in verbal associative productivity and audience sensitivity test scores defined abstract and concrete nouns before an audience or in the presence of E alone.  Their definitions were scored for extralinguistic and style features of speech.  The design was based on the assumption that effects of associative productivity and stimulus concreteness are mediated by cognitive processes, whereas effects of audience sensitivity and audience conditions are mediated by emotional states.  Latency of definitions, word production, and filled pauses ("ahs") were related only to the two cognitive factors.  A significant interaction revealed that in the audience situation highly audience-sensitive Ss had the highest silent-pause ratio, suggesting that this variable was most affected by emotional arousal.  Frequency of silent pauses, word length, ratio of concrete to abstract nouns in the definitions, and evaluative ratings of the definitions were related to both classes of independent variables.
Reynolds, A. & A. Paivio 1968 Cognitive and emotional determinants of speech. In Canadian Journal of Psychology 22/3: 164-175.

Key points relevant to the study of filled pauses


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