Y: Voices often indicate thoughts and emotions indirectly. Cues in the form of pitches, tones, and pauses are qualities of voices that listeners use to make inferences about a speaker’s mind.
D: But those cues aren’t always represented in content that we read, like in a transcript or a text message. That can lead to considerable confusion between communicators.
Y: And when it comes to communication around topics of intense disagreement, like political primaries, hearing a person speak their opinion, rather than just reading a statement of it, makes individuals from the opposition seem more mentally capable.
D: Research in psychology has shown that when we read a person’s opinion that disputes our own, we actually judge them as less capable to think and reason at all, compared to when we hear their opinions vocalized.
Y: Audio and audiovisual media don’t affect our evaluation of opinions we already agree with. But when a disagreement is at stake, the medium we choose to learn about another person’s opinions plays an important role.
D: It may come as no surprise to our listeners that audio media can make people’s words sound more intellectually capable, and so, more uniquely human.
Y: On a practical level, this means that giving an ear to the literal voice of the opposition on an issue that they care about can allow people to recognize a difference in belief without belittling the minds of others.
D: The media we use to get our news and communicate about issues online is a crucial factor in how you form an impression of the other side’s thinking.
Y: Choose wisely. Tune into media sources that can enable more humanization and better communication.