Current Issue Summary
Sept 2020 (Vol. 60, Issue 3):
Do Your Ads Talk Too Fast to Your Audio Audience? How Speech Rates of Audio Commercials Influence Cognitive and Physiological Outcomes
With more insight into delivering messages that connect, Emma Rodero (UPF Barcelona School of Management) seeks to understand not just if consumers receive a message but how well they understand it. Her research is grounded in a sample of 200 English- and Spanish-speaking adults whose psychophysiological measures (heart rate and skin conductance), memory tests, and self-reported data were compiled to understand respondents’ ability to process speech at different rates of speed.
Three different speeds were utilized for the study: 160, 180, and 200 words per minute. The author found that “the messages must be conveyed fast enough to keep the listener’s attention, but always at a moderate rate. At 180 words per minute, the phonological loop can fulfill its function of retaining information.”
The findings show that self-reported arousal was greatest, the perceptions of the advertisements were less negative, and participants could effectively process the message with high emotional activation at 180 words per minute. Strategically, the author suggests that “using fast speech style to convey information in a short period should be avoided if the goal is for listeners to understand and better remember the information.”
In other words, the faster the speech rate, the lower the information density needs to be.