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Speakers shift their way of expressing depending on their audience, this is the audience design. Audience design shifts depends on who the speaker is trying to communicate with. Language production is composed depending on suitable memories that associate the communication among individuals. Horton and Gerrig (2005) intend to study the influence of audience design to language production that emerges from memory. The authors predict that communicative task of Orthogonal will allow Director to encode associations of particular cards with particular Matchers, allowing faster initial descriptions.
Horton and Gerrig (2005) had seventy-two undergraduate students (24 groups of 3 individuals) from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. These students were native speakers of English and volunteered to receive partial fulfillment for a psychology course requirement.
Researchers created two identical sets of picture cards, one was for the Director (role played by a participant) and the second set was for the Matchers (participants). These cards were 4-in. X 6-in. index cards that contained colored picture cards. Each card set contained 16 experimental and 16 filler items. The experimental cards picture items were four dogs, four birds, four fish and for frogs. The filler items contain four cats, four flowers, four lizards, and four turtles.
For each trial, a participant, from the three, was randomly selected to play the role of the Director and the other two participants became Matcher A and Matcher B. All participants were instructed that their goal in each round was to have the Matcher accurately arrange the cards in the Directors’ target array and that they should interact as much as needed to accomplish the goal. Participants were instructed that there would be a rotation among Matchers, one Matcher would complete rounds 1-4 and the second Matcher would complete rounds 5-8, rounds 9 and 10 were not mentioned. The Director was sat on one side of the table and the Matcher on the other side, however, there was a vertical barrier that blocked their view from each other. Each side contain a 4 X 4 grid, used to place matched cards during the course of each round. Different Directors, from the different 24 groups, were instructed to describe different categories of cards with different Matchers called the Orthogonal condition. Other Directors, were instructed to describe the same card categories with both Matchers called the Overlapping condition. The participants voices were recorded. The researchers’ main goal was to measure the latency of the Directors to initiate a description, during rounds 9 and 10, depending which condition the Directors’ were placed in, orthogonal or overlapping condition.
The mean onset latencies (measured in milliseconds) for Directors’ first initial description, during rounds 9 and 10, reflect the difficulty of the Orthogonal versus Overlapping card conditions. The mean latency on the Orthogonal (M=2305 ms) and Overlapping (M= 2301 ms), both card conditions were very close in time of latencies. The averages indicate that Directors’ did not give themselves extra time that may have been necessary to retrieve appropriate memory of language representation during the overlapping condition. Horton and Gerrig (2005) conducted, four-way ANOVAs for old and new items and the latency of descriptions. Directors rounds with Matcher A data are labeled (F1) and data from Directors rounds with Matcher B are labeled (F2). Directors were slower to initiate descriptions for new cards for a current Matcher (M= 2384 ms) compared to describing old items to the same Matcher (M= 2221 ms); F1(1,22)= 8.45, MSe= 37,210, P<.01; F2(1,15)= 8.58, MSe= 52, 131, P<.01. This data indicates that the Directors were slower to describe new items in the Orthogonal condition. Directors in the Overlapping condition, F1(1,22) = 3.15, MSe= 37,210, P=.09; F2(1,15) =1.47, MSe= 60,599, P=.24. According to Horton and Gerrig (2005), Directors in the Overlap condition were slower to initiate descriptions of new cards than in the Orthogonal condition. This supports their proposed goal.
Gaps and Limitations
This Article is well- organize, however it does lack on a few aspects. One of the limitations is that in the results it does not state the mean for the Overlapping condition, for the measure of latency of initial description for the new and old cards presented. It only states by the authors that their initial goal of the study was met. Not providing statistics does not validate the claim, that the hypothesis was supported.
This study illustrates how communicative language is influenced by audience design. Individuals make associations with other individuals during an interaction that when they reencounter they are able to use the same language as the initiate interaction and varies with different people. It is interesting that individuals unconsciously develop coded language for particular circumstance and it requires memory processes to retrieve the associated language. It is important because society should be aware of audience design since it may be used in individuals’ daily lives, for example the language they use at work difference from the associated language with friends in a bar. The phenomenon of audience design describes how peoples’ language is influenced by their current situations or environments. It would be interesting to see in further research, how audience design and language production can be examined in children. Would children produce similar results? Are there higher confounding variables that influence children? Children may be affected by audience design in their early years of school, most children may interact with the same group people since their early productions of language, so when they start to attend school for the first time how does that influence their ability differ the difference in their choice of words and making general statements.
- Horton, W. S., & Gerrig, R. J. (2005). The impact of memory demands on audience design during language production. Cognition, 96(2), 127–142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2004.07.001
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