Patronizing Speech to Older Adults

  • Hehman J
  • Corpuz R
  • Bugental D
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Abstract

We measured the use of patronizing speech among young adults who were instructed to provide directions (via an internet connection) to a newcomer to campus described as 21 or 65 years old. As predicted, the acoustic properties used with older adults were moderated by the speakers' history with older unrelated adults (no comparable effects were found for speakers' history with grandparents). Participants with relatively low contact with unrelated older adults were more likely than those with high contact to be judged as sounding "patronizing" and to display acoustical properties associated with patronization (high vocal intensity, high pitch) with older newcomers. However, participants showed a shared tendency to speak more slowly to older than young adults. Findings inform our understanding of the circumstances under which ageist speech is amplified or attenuated. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Acoustic analysis
  • Ageist speech
  • Patronizing speech

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Authors

  • Jessica A. Hehman

  • Randy Corpuz

  • Daphne Bugental

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