How to Win Your Opponent's Respect? Talk, Don't Type
A new study found that listening to other people speak—as opposed to just write—tends to make us think they’re more mentally capable.
Social media has made it easier than ever to find people with whom we disagree. And if there ever was one perfectly awful event that made online comment sections somehow worse, it was the 2016 presidential election. No matter your candidate, you’ve probably witnessed someone on the other side try to justify their position online in a way that made you think they were, you know, incredibly stupid.
But new research suggests you might not be so harsh if you were to hear that person's same explanation offline in their real voice.
In the study published in Psychological Science, researchers Juliana Schroeder, Michael Kardas and Nicholas Epley found that the mediums through which we interact with each other significantly affect how we form impressions about other people. In short, we’re more likely to humanize people—and perceive them as more thoughtful, intelligent, rational, and humanlike—when we hear their voice.
A sample from the Big Think YouTube comments section.
An experiment the researchers conducted before the 2016 U.S. presidential election illustrates this point. They asked 10 Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton supporters to explain why they prefer whichever candidate through two mediums: a written explanation and a spoken one in front of a camera.
Then, researchers asked 850 evaluators with varying political orientations to rate supporters’ mental capacities—how rational, reasonable, and intellectually capable they seemed—after watching videos of their explanations, listening to the audio, reading the transcript, or reading a written explanation.
You might be able to guess how evaluators rated people with different political opinions.
“Clinton supporters rated Trump supporters as less rational and reasonable than other Clinton supporters, and vice versa,” wrote the researchers for Quartz.
Still, there was a surprising catch: Evaluators rated supporters, even those they disagreed with, less harshly when they heard supporters explain their positions.
“This humanizing result was not simply the consequence of having more information about another person—seeing the supporter in a video did not change impressions, compared to hearing the supporter,” wrote the researchers. “A person’s voice seems to be uniquely humanizing.”
What in the human voice causes these effects?
“A person’s voice conveys not only words but also paralinguistic cues like intonation and pauses,” researchers wrote. “In the same way that you know a person is biologically alive because their body moves, you know that another person is mentally alive because their voice also contains movement in paralinguistic cues. Pitch rises and falls. A voice gets louder and softer. Speaking speeds up and slows down. These cues all reflect thinking as it is happening.”
Other research also hints at the power of the human voice in correctly interpreting other people. In a study published in American Psychologist, researchers found that participants best interpreted the emotions of others when all they had to go by was audio of the human voice—not video with audio. Showing video footage with audio actually seemed to render interpretations less accurate.
The researchers behind the current paper also offered a couple examples of how the human voice helps people better interpret others: job candidates come off better when potential employers hear elevator pitches instead of reading them, and people in a simulated driving experiment rated their car to be smarter and more capable when it was given an interactive human voice.
In short, when in doubt assume: voice > text.
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
- Push Past Negative Self-Talk: Give Yourself the Proper Fuel to Attack the World, with David Goggins, Former NAVY SealIf you've ever spent 5 minutes trying to meditate, you know something most people don't realize: that our minds are filled, much of the time, with negative nonsense. Messaging from TV, from the news, from advertising, and from difficult daily interactions pulls us mentally in every direction, insisting that we focus on or worry about this or that. To start from a place of strength and stability, you need to quiet your mind and gain control. For former NAVY Seal David Goggins, this begins with recognizing all the negative self-messaging and committing to quieting the mind. It continues with replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones.
If you don't want to know anything about your death, consider this your spoiler warning.
- For centuries cultures have personified death to give this terrifying mystery a familiar face.
- Modern science has demystified death by divulging its biological processes, yet many questions remain.
- Studying death is not meant to be a morbid reminder of a cruel fate, but a way to improve the lives of the living.
- Master Execution: How to Get from Point A to Point B in 7 Steps, with Rob Roy, Retired Navy SEALUsing the principles of SEAL training to forge better bosses, former Navy SEAL and founder of the Leadership Under Fire series Rob Roy, a self-described "Hammer", makes people's lives miserable in the hopes of teaching them how to be a tougher—and better—manager. "We offer something that you are not going to get from reading a book," says Roy. "Real leaders inspire, guide and give hope."Anybody can make a decision when everything is in their favor, but what happens in turbulent times? Roy teaches leaders, through intense experiences, that they can walk into any situation and come out ahead. In this lesson, he outlines seven SEAL-tested steps for executing any plan—even under extreme conditions or crisis situations.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.