Date of Award

1981

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Abstract

The purpose of the study is to determine the extent to which a speaker's physical attractiveness and credibility may influence the effectiveness of a speech. The following questions were asked: (a)Is the speaker effectiveness determined by the speaker's physical attractiveness and credibility? (b)Will the attractive speaker be perceived as a less effective speaker, other things being equal? (c)Additionally, will the study show which the audience thinks is of greater influence in evaluating the effectiveness of a speaker, physical attractiveness or credibility? A significant F value was hypothesized for the main effects physical attractiveness, sex, and introduction. An introduction effect was also predicted. The confederate speaker served as both the attractive and the not-so-attractive speaker. A no, low, or high credible introduction prefaced each of the attractiveness conditions. A total of six combinations of introduction and attractiveness were used in this experiment. The subjects, all beginning speech class members, viewed a four minute video taped speech. Following the speech each subject filled out an ethos semantic differential and a semantic differential for effectiveness. The resulting ANOVAs revealed that neither credibility nor effectiveness were significant for the main effect attractiveness. The main effect sex was not significant for credibility or effectiveness. For the main effect introduction, the F value was significant on all three levels of the credibility measure and for the effectiveness measure. It was further revealed that the male subject, when viewing an attractive female speaker, always rated the femae highest in the low introduction condition. The female, when viewing the attractive female speaker, rated the high introduction conditions most effective. In the unattractive condition the male did not rate the speaker in any set pattern. The female subject, on the other hand, rated the low credible introduction the highest in the unattractive condition. The overall effective rating was as follows: (1)attractive/low introduction, (2)unattractive/low introduction, (3)attractive/high introduction, (4)unattractive/high introduction, (5)attractive/no introduction, and (6)unattractive/no introduction. Therefore, it can be concluded based on these findings that: (a)The speaker's effectiveness is not determined by the speaker's physical attractiveness. Perceived credibility does determine the speaker's effectiveness. (b)Perceived speaker effectiveness is not determined by attractiveness of the speaker, other things being equal. (c)Finally, credibility, as measured by three levels of introduction, is of greater influence in evaluating the effectiveness of a speaker, than is physical attractiveness.

Pages

79

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