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article imageFor businesses, is audio communication best?

By Tim Sandle     Oct 11, 2017 in Business
When making business deals remotely it might not be worth investigating in expensive video technology and sticking with a telephone instead. New research finds people tend to read others' emotions more accurately when they listen and don't look.
The focus on audio comes from researchers based at Yale University. The researchers have drawn a conclusion with a simple message — if you want to know how someone is feeling, it might be better to close your eyes and use your ears.
Video technology has advanced and it has many uses for remote business meetings, especially for sharing presentations and for showcasing new products. However, for really crucial deals or conferences the focus on video may distract from what is actually being said and, more importantly, the way it is being said. Investing in a good sound broadcast system might be better.
A study in listening
For the research five experiments were conducted involving over 1,800 subjects. With each study the participants were requested to interact with another subject or, alternatively, they were presented with an interaction between two other people. In some studies the participants could only listen and not look. For other studies, the participants could to look but not listen. In another study the participants were permitted to both look and listen.
A review of the five experiments found that individuals who just listened without observing were typically able to identify more accurately the emotions being experienced by others. The only exception was an additional study whereby the subjects listened to the computerized voices instead of human voices. This led to a poor accuracy. This is a warning to businesses that overly rely upon computerized messages.
In a research brief the leader of the study, Dr. Michael Kraus, said: "Social and biological sciences over the years have demonstrated the profound desire of individuals to connect with others and the array of skills people possess to discern emotions or intentions. But, in the presence of both will and skill, people often inaccurately perceive others' emotions."
The scientist adds: "Our research suggests that relying on a combination of vocal and facial cues, or solely facial cues, may not be the best strategy for accurately recognizing the emotions or intentions of others."
The research has been published in the journal American Psychologist, with the study titled "Voice-Only Communication Enhances Empathic Accuracy."
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