The Influence of Communication Effectiveness on Evaluations of Younger and Older Adult Speakers
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Earlier research has shown that young adults exhibit less favorable reactions to older speakers than to their peers, especially for intellectual and social competence. The present study examined the role of age in modifying the evaluations of listeners for effective and ineffective speakers. In a communication paradigm, 80 undergraduate students listened to and followed the taped instructions of a male speaker who was then evaluated. Communication effectiveness was the only significant factor for the speaker's ratings on the dimension of competence. On the benevolence dimension (e.g., trustworthiness, kindness), however, effectiveness interacted with age, such that for younger adults ineffective speakers were viewed significantly less positively than their more effective peers.
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