An article co-authored by Professor Rob Potter in the newest issue of Human Communications Research finds that audio messages are more effective when the speaker varies the pitch level of his or her vocal intonations.
Potter worked with Emma Rodero, a professor from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain, to collect data for the study in The Media School’s Institute for Communication Research. Rodero visited The Media School as part of a Marie Curie grant from the European Union. Pilar Prieto, also a professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, is the third co-author on the article, titled “Pitch Range Variations Improve Cognitive Processing of Audio Messages.”
The study used measures of heart rate and skin conductance coupled with self-reported attitude measures and memory to collect data. It found that the most effective strategy for message effectiveness is to start with a higher voice pitch and transition into a lower one.
The article applies these findings to practical takeaways for audio producers and puts them into the context of media psychology theory.