Consistency between verbal and non-verbal affective cues: a clue to speaker credibility
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Listeners are exposed to inconsistencies in communication; for example, when speakers’ words (i.e. verbal) are discrepant with their demonstrated emotions (i.e. non-verbal). Such inconsistencies introduce ambiguity, which may render a speaker to be a less credible source of information. Two experiments examined whether children make credibility discriminations based on the consistency of speakers’ affect cues. In Experiment 1, school-age children (7- to 8-year-olds) preferred to solicit information from consistent speakers (e.g. those who provided a negative statement with negative affect), over novel speakers, to a greater extent than they preferred to solicit information from inconsistent speakers (e.g. those who provided a negative statement with positive affect) over novel speakers. Preschoolers (4- to 5-year-olds) did not demonstrate this preference. Experiment 2 showed that school-age children's ratings of speakers were influenced by speakers’ affect consistency when the attribute being judged was related to information acquisition (speakers’ believability, “weird” speech), but not general characteristics (speakers’ friendliness, likeability). Together, findings suggest that school-age children are sensitive to, and use, the congruency of affect cues to determine whether individuals are credible sources of information.
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Randall L. Gillis, Elizabeth S. Nilsen (2016). Consistency between verbal and non-verbal affective cues: a clue to speaker credibility. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/17446