The effect of reading rates on listeners' perceptions of personality
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The purpose of this study was to determine how listeners judge various personality characteristics of a speaker based upon their perception of reading rate. The relationship between reading rate and personality judgments were examined. The personality characteristics of interest included: competence, benevolence, and social attractiveness. Three student volunteers recorded audio speech samples while reading a phonetically balanced passage using a fast reading rate, average reading rate, and slow reading rate. The subjects participating in this study were from two large undergraduate classes. The recorded audio samples were played to the subjects, and after each recording the subjects answered a number of questions using a standard scantron form. In addition, subjects were asked to comment on their own reading rates so that this variable could be compared with their results. Results indicated that reading rates had a significant effect on the personality factors, competence, benevolence, and social attractiveness. In addition, a slow reading rate was found to have the highest competence and benevolence ratings, and an average reading rate was found to have the highest social attractiveness ratings. Findings of this study suggested a potential clinical application for various individuals with communicative disorders who are taught to modify their speaking and reading rate to improve their ability to communicate (e.g. persons who stutter).