Requests for reprints should be addressed to David B. Buller, Department of Communication, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.
Social Perceptions as Mediators of the Effect of Speech Rate
Similarity on Compliance
Article first published online: 17 MAR 2006
Human Communication Research
Volume 19, Issue 2, pages 286–311, December 1992
How to Cite
DULLER, D. B., LePOIRE, B. A., AUNE, R. K. and ELOY, S. V. (1992), Social Perceptions as Mediators of the Effect of Speech Rate. Human Communication Research, 19: 286–311. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.1992.tb00303.x
- Issue published online: 17 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 17 MAR 2006
Research on the relationship between speech rate and persuasion has provided inconsistent results. Recently, it was proposed that speech rate similarity affects compliance by increasing social attractiveness, which is more important to compliance than speaker credibility. Further, it was speculated that social attractiveness produces obligations to aid the speaker. This experiment tested these claims by predicting that if obligations mediated compliance, social attractiveness would only improve compliance when the speaker benefited from that compliance. In a 5 (Speaker Speech Rate) × 2 (Benefit to Speaker) design, 257 listeners, pretested on their speech rate, were exposed to 1 of 10 requests soliciting volunteers for a bogus research project. As expected, speech rate similarity enhanced social attractiveness, and faster speech rates increased speaker competence and dominance. Social attractiveness had a main effect on compliance, suggesting a direct effect on attraction. Higher sociability/character assessments and lower dominance increased compliance when the speaker benefited more, providing only limited support for the mediating role of obligations. Increased dominance and status also augmented compliance, especially when the speaker benefited less from compliance. Thus speech rate and other nonverbal behaviors may effect compliance by increasing the speaker's social attractiveness, creating obligations to comply, or exerting persuasive force through higher status and power.