Voice activated : exploring the effects of voices on behaviours.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Decades of priming research have revealed that environmental stimuli feed into our behaviours, often without any awareness of our using this information to guide our behaviour. This has been shown using plentiful stimuli across multiple contexts. One of the most socially rich stimuli in our environment is voice, and yet this has featured surprisingly little in behavioural research, particularly within social psychology. This thesis was written as a step towards addressing this gap, and it explores how voices might affect particular behaviours in different contexts.
Three broad experiments, each with their own sub-experiments, investigated how voices, acting as proxies for social categories, could influence one's behaviour. In the first experiment, the responses to socially themed statements were influenced by the sex of the voice presenting those statements. Female voices primed more agreement to these statements than did male voices. In the second experiment, judgements of ambiguous stimuli and questions were also affected by voices, albeit in less clear ways. In the third experiment, the reaction times of participants were again affected by voices. Younger participants' reaction times were slower when listening to an older voice, and older participants' reaction times were faster when listening to an older voice. Across these three experiments, I found too that the presence of a voice led to task differences compared to when voice was absent.
The combination of these experiments is, to my knowledge, the first to look at voice-based behavioural priming. How these results fit with selected existing theories, the potential to specify theories based on these results, and the possible practical applications of voice based priming are discussed.