Judgements of a speaker’s personality are correlated across differing content and stimulus type

Mahrholz, G. , Belin, P. and McAleer, P. (2018) Judgements of a speaker’s personality are correlated across differing content and stimulus type. PLoS ONE, 13(10), e0204991. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0204991) (PMID:23894425) (PMCID:PMC3722173)

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It has previously been shown that first impressions of a speaker’s personality, whether accurate or not, can be judged from short utterances of vowels and greetings, as well as from prolonged sentences and readings of complex paragraphs. From these studies, it is established that listeners’ judgements are highly consistent with one another, suggesting that different people judge personality traits in a similar fashion, with three key personality traits being related to measures of valence (associated with trustworthiness), dominance, and attractiveness. Yet, particularly in voice perception, limited research has established the reliability of such personality judgements across stimulus types of varying lengths. Here we investigate whether first impressions of trustworthiness, dominance, and attractiveness of novel speakers are related when a judgement is made on hearing both one word and one sentence from the same speaker. Secondly, we test whether what is said, thus adjusting content, influences the stability of personality ratings. 60 Scottish voices (30 females) were recorded reading two texts: one of ambiguous content and one with socially-relevant content. One word (~500 ms) and one sentence (~3000 ms) were extracted from each recording for each speaker. 181 participants (138 females) rated either male or female voices across both content conditions (ambiguous, socially-relevant) and both stimulus types (word, sentence) for one of the three personality traits (trustworthiness, dominance, attractiveness). Pearson correlations showed personality ratings between words and sentences were strongly correlated, with no significant influence of content. In short, when establishing an impression of a novel speaker, judgments of three key personality traits are highly related whether you hear one word or one sentence, irrespective of what they are saying. This finding is consistent with initial personality judgments serving as elucidators of approach or avoidance behaviour, without modulation by time or content. All data and sounds are available on OSF (osf.io/s3cxy).

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Gaby Mahrholz is a recipient of a 1+3 Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) award from the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McAleer, Dr Phil and Belin, Professor Pascal and Mahrholz, Gaby
Creator Roles:
Mahrholz, G.Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Validation, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing
Belin, P.Conceptualization, Investigation, Methodology, Supervision, Writing – review and editing
McAleer, P.Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Supervision, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Mahrholz, G., Belin, P., and McAleer, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Mahrholz et al.
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 13(10):e0204991
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
591547ESRC Doctoral Training Centre 2011...Mary Beth KneafseyEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/J500136/1VPO VICE PRINCIPAL RESEARCH & ENTERPRISE