Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Social status and power of action of speakers determine the way their statements are perceived

05.08.2013
Neurolinguists measure brain reaction to statements made by prominent speakers / Results published in PLOS ONE

The actual standing of speakers within a society's power structure determines how their statements are perceived. This is the conclusion reached in a joint study undertaken by neurolinguist Professor Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky of the University of Marburg and linguist Professor Matthias Schlesewsky of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) with the support of Sylvia Krauspsenhaar, who participated in the study as a member of the Neurotypology research group at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig.

The results were recently published in an article entitled "Yes, you can? A speaker's potency to act upon his words orchestrates early neural responses to message-level meaning" in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

For the purposes of the study, the team of researchers exposed their trial group to video recordings of a politically influential decision-maker, an eminent news anchor, and a person completely unknown to the test subjects expressing both plausible and implausible statements. The first speaker was Peer Steinbrück, the then Federal Minister of Finance, and the second was Ulrich Wickert, a former TV newscaster. They spoke from a script produced especially for the study; all the statements made were classifiable either in the categories "general knowledge" or "politics". While obviously false statements relating to the real world (such as "Fidel Castro is a pop singer.") triggered similar reactions in the test subjects' brains in the case of all three speakers, the reactions to implausible political statements (such as "The federal government has announced that it will be leaving NATO.") differed depending on the speaker. The EEG recordings made while subjects were listening to politician Steinbrück diverged from those made when the other, non-political speakers made the same statements.

"We believe that the observed variations in listeners' reactions to political statements represent the immediate influence of the speaker's perceived ability to transform their words into actions on the way the listener interprets the message," explained Professor Matthias Schlesewsky of the Department of English and Linguistics at JGU. "The decisive factor is whether the listener assumes that the speaker has the power to transform what he or she says into reality." Professor Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky added: "Clearly political decision-makers are considered to have significantly more influence than simple citizens or other prominent persons." It had been previously assumed that it was only factors such as listeners' general knowledge and their current mood, among numerous other aspects, that determined the reactions in the brain to spoken statements.

Publication:
Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, Sylvia Krauspenhaar, Matthias Schlesewsky: "Yes, you can? A speaker's potency to act upon his words orchestrates early neural responses to message-level meaning", PLOS ONE, 24 July 2013

http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069173

Further information:
Professor Dr. Matthias Schlesewsky
General Linguistics
Department of English and Linguistics
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
D 55099 Mainz, GERMANY
phone +49 6131 39-23478
fax +49 6131 39-23836
e-mail: schlesew@uni-mainz.de
http://www.linguistik.fb05.uni-mainz.de/mitarbeiter/matthias-schlesewsky/
Weitere Informationen:
http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069173
- Publication in PLOS ONE

Petra Giegerich | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-mainz.de

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht New Technologies for A/V Analysis and Search
13.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

nachricht On patrol in social networks
25.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>