Speech rate acceptance ranges as a function of evaluative domain, listener speech rate, and communication context Academic Article uri icon


  • Models of speech evaluation suffer from insufficient empirical foundations. Examining one noncontent speech form, speech rate, we proposed that listeners' impressions of a speaker were influenced by individual acceptance regions which are a function of the evaluative dimension employed and which may differ for various communication contexts. Three predictions were made. First, because of stereotypic conceptions associating faster rates with competence, actual and perceived speaker rates should be linearly related to listeners' competence judgments. Second, we proposed that judgments of social attractiveness would be mediated by the extent to which a speaker's rate was similar to a listener's. Thus, we expected listeners to find those speakers more socially attractive whose speech rates were relatively similar (actual and perceived) to their own than those speakers with relatively dissimilar rates. Because we thought listeners would have narrower acceptance regions for employment interviews than for conversational settings, a third hypothesis predicted a significant speaker rate-by-context interaction. The first prediction received strong support, the second partial support, and the third no support. The data are discussed in terms of the effects of speech stereotypes and speech rate similarity on both competence and social attractiveness judgments. 1982, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Communication Monographs

author list (cited authors)

  • Street, R. L., & Brady, R. M.

citation count

  • 84

complete list of authors

  • Street, Richard L||Brady, Robert M

publication date

  • December 1982