Anti Gravity: On Presidents and King; November 1996; Scientific American Magazine; by Mirsky; 1 Page(s)
If familiarity does indeed breed contempt, there are two things you are no doubt sick of by now: the hoarse windiness of Bill Clinton and the grievous monotone of Bob Dole. One of those voices, however, will be our choice to deliver the next batch of State of the Union addresses. According to research recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a particular vocal quality, revealing who has the higher social status, may be instrumental in guiding that choice.
Stanford W. Gregory, Jr., a sociology professor at Kent State University, and his colleague Stephen Webster have long studied the nonverbal aspects of speech involving the communication that goes on outside of mere words. Research in this field has shown that when people talk to one another, their speech characteristics tend to converge--pitch patterns, pause lengths, pronunciations.