Credit: University of Rochester
By Monique Patenaude
As social creatures, we tend to mimic each other’s posture, laughter, and other behaviors, including how we speak. Now a new study shows that people with similar views tend to more closely mirror, or align, each other’s speech patterns. In addition, people who are better at compromising align more closely.
“Few people are aware that they alter their word pronunciation, speech rate, and even the structure of their sentences during conversation,” explained Florian Jaeger, associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester and coauthor of the study recently published in Language Variation and Change. “What we have found is that the degree to which speakers align is socially mediated.”
“Our social judgments about others and our general attitude toward conflict are affecting even the most automatic and subconscious aspects of how we express ourselves with language,” said lead-author Kodi Weatherholtz, a post-doctoral researcher in Jaeger’s lab.
To test the social effects of how greatly we mimic each other’s speech patterns, the researchers devised an experiment in which participants first listened to ideologically charged messages with a set sentence structure. After listening to the diatribes they were asked to describe some simple illustrations showing characters performing simple actions, such as a waitress giving a banana to a monk.
Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.