Cognition and interpersonal communication: The effect of voice quality on information processing and person perception

Margarete Imhof, Tuula-Riitta Välikoski, Anne-Maria Laukkanen, Kai Orlob


Against the backdrop of cognitive load theory (CLT) it was tested if irregular voice increases processing demands on working memory (WM). An experiment was designed to expose N = 54 participants to expository text delivered with a modal and a creaky human voice. Working memory capacity was measured by a secondary task on the visual modality. Listening to a creaky voice quality consumes more cognitive capacity as indicated by the significant decrease in secondary task performance; also, retention of information was found to be impaired. Results are explained within the framework of CLT and implications for professional communication are discussed.


Cognitive load theory; Information processing; Interpersonal communication; Listening; Voice quality; Person perception


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Copyright (c) 2014 Swiss Association of Communication and Media Research and Università della Svizzera italiana. Published by Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896