The current study explores the relationship between social contagion and vocal fillers. An experiment was conducted in which 100 students presented speeches. Prior to presenting their speech, half of the students were exposed to a speech with excessive vocal fillers and half were exposed to a speech with no vocal fillers. Students who heard a speech with excessive vocal fillers used more vocal fillers in their own speech. Students were unaware of this transmission, which further demonstrates the example of social contagion. Social contagion highlights the presence of linguistic communities in public speaking classrooms. The study then provides a review of popular public speaking textbooks’ coverage of the topic of vocal fillers. The review finds vocal fillers are generally not given serious treatment in public speaking classes. The current study concludes with suggestions for how public speaking instructors can better leverage the topic of vocal fillers to their full pedagogical potential.
Myers, W. Benjamin and Wadkins, Theresa A.
"Vocal Fillers, Contagion Effects, and, um, Overlooked Pedagogical Opportunities in the, uh, Public Speaking Classroom,"
Basic Communication Course Annual: Vol. 33, Article 14.
Available at: https://ecommons.udayton.edu/bcca/vol33/iss1/14