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Noon Edition

The Humanizing Voice

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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.

Radio speakers.

The medium through which we receive information, whether through radio, TV or the written word, shapes our perception of opposing viewpoints. (PlasmaFire3000, Wikimedia Commons)

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. 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.

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.

Research in psychology has shown that when we read a person's opinion that disputes our own, we actually judge them as laess capable to think and reason in general, compared to when we hear their opinions vocalized. Audio and audiovisual media don't affect our evaluation of opinions we already agree with. But when a disagreement is at stake, the medium with which we choose to learn about another person't opinions plays an important role.

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. 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.

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.   

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