Sunday, January 18, 2009

Effects of increasing the rate of speech presentation upon comprehension

Study: (Carver, 1973)

Descriptors: speech presentation rate, comprehension, auditory thresholds, listening comprehension, speech perception, speech rate

Research Design
This study is quantitative and seeks to measure outcomes of an Experimental Research Design.

Research Problem
A review of earlier research (Campbell & Fiske, 1959; Foulke & Sticht, 1969) suggests a maximum speech comprehension so that comprehension rapidly attenuates at speed above 275 words per minute. However, the employed methodology suggests a confounding of the research results with the method used for measurement. Thus, before building on this research and developing a theory, reworking earlier research results (by way of another methodology) are required.

Research Purpose
The purpose of this article is to reinterpret earlier studies and extend knowledge on how rates of speech affect comprehension. Moreover, this study seeks the verification of a threshold for comprehension and information storage.

“Whether or not there is a threshold for comprehension or information storage [concerning the rate of speech delivery].” (P.119) Also, does reanalyzing the data (from previous studies) support a unified understanding (and theory) of thresholds for speech comprehension.

Non-directional Alternative Hypotheses
A reinterpretation of data (reanalyze) might show different results by reworking variables using the following structure:
Independent variable: Speech “rate” dimension (“units divided by time”) redefined as duration (“time divided by units [of understood words]”).
Dependant variable: Comprehension (using a better dependant variable)
Participants: 54 subjects
Key indicator: the word “reanalyze”, but the direction of change (positive or negative rates) is not specified.

Results of the study:
“…[I]f there is a threshold, it seems to have a range among individuals.” (P. 124)


Campbell, D. T., & Fiske, D. W. (1959). Convergent and discriminant validation by the multitrait-multimethod matrix. Psychological Bulletin, 56(2), 81-105. doi:10.1037/h0046016

Carver, R. P. (1973). Effects of increasing the rate of speech presentation upon comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 65(1), 118-126. doi:10.1037/h0034783

Foulke, E., & Sticht, T. G. (1969). Review of research on the intelligibility and comprehension of accelerated speech. Psychological Bulletin, 72(1), 50-62. doi:10.1037/h0027575


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