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A neutral tone is best for giving information
Emotive voices can capture attention, but it is neutral tones that tend to sink in. This is according to new research published in Springer's journal Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, which found emotion can help a person recognise words quickly and accurately, while neutral speech is remembered more accurately in the long-term.
The study involved 48 men and 48 women, who listened to words spoken both sadly and neutrally, with the participants later examined on word recognition and attitudes to the words via a visual test.
It was also discovered that remembered phrases tend to take on an emotional value, with those spoken in a sad tone being recalled as more negative.
Annett Schirmer from the National University of Singapore, who led the investigation, said: "Emotional voices produce changes in long-term memory, as well as capturing the listener's attention. They influence how easily spoken words are later recognised and what emotions are assigned to them."
Chartered Psychologist Dr Sue Lovegrove comments:
"I found this study very interesting and convincing. This line of research should be continued as it helps convince public speakers about the role of emotive voices (not just language) in getting a message across.
"The gender differences are in line with findings from other research on how women ‘hear’ words differently from men.
"Knowing about the impact of emotive voices on capturing the listeners attention and long-term memory must surely help campaigners trying to change social attitudes."
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