Study: The Voice: Mechanisms of Identity & Change

4th March 2021

A team at Newcastle University invites you to take part in a study on how having an 'atypical' voice affects how you communicate, how people talk to you, and how they perceive you.

Background & purpose

Dr Sophie Meekings from the Speech Communication Group at the University says, "For this research we want to look at the real-world implications of having an 'atypical' voice, like stammering and Tourette’s. We want to measure the impact these have on conversation, and also the kind of discrimination people are likely to experience. The design of this experiment arose out of conversations with people who stammer who participated in previous research of mine."

How will it benefit people who stammer?

Sophie explains, "This research could be used to educate people who don’t stammer, including medical personnel, about how best to communicate with people who do.

'If it shows that people who stammer are treated differently or have more difficulty in conversation because of their voice, this could form part of a case for reasonable adjustments, for example making services accessible by email rather than phone call."

What will it involve?

The team will ask you to attend two video calls over Zoom, each lasting around 45 minutes. They will record you talking on your own, and to another person while playing a collaborative game. Some of the recordings will be used (anonymously) in a follow-up experiment, asking listeners to rate their perceptions of different voices. With participants’ consent, recordings will also be anonymised and made available to other researchers. This is to make it easier for researchers to conduct follow-up studies into stammering without asking people to give up more of their time.

Who can take part?

Sophie and her team are looking for adults aged 18 and over who stammer and who have normal hearing.

Will you get paid?

Yes, the team will pay you £20 for your time. 

How to take part

If you'd like to take part in this study, or for more information, email Sophie at sophie.meekings@ncl.ac.uk

To see what other research you can get involved with, see our Studies Looking for Participants page.

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