Myth busted? Challenging what we think we know about charismatic speech

Jan Michalsky, Oliver Niebuhr

Myth busted? Challenging what we think we know about charismatic speech

Číslo: 2/2019
Periodikum: Acta Universitatis Carolinae Philologica
DOI: 10.14712/24646830.2019.17

Klíčová slova: Charisma; speech prosody; rhetoric; public speaking; posture; breathing; personality traits

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Anotace: Charisma is a complex phenomenon. This fact manifests itself not least in an abundance of myths, half-truths, and unanswered research questions. Most charisma myths have not been uncontroversial, and since empirical investigations have advanced quickly over the past years, we take the opportunity in this paper to revisit ten of the most important myths that relate primarily, but not exclusively, to the linguistic and phonetic aspects of charisma, such as the interactions between verbal and nonverbal and between segmental and prosodic cues, as well as the roles of breathing and fundamental frequency in charisma perception. The result is a very diverse picture. Some myths, including very old ones, can be accepted. Others must be rejected in the light of contradicting empirical results. The status of some myths remains unsettled. Furthermore, in discussing that diverse picture, our paper points towards knowledge gaps in research and practice and gives concrete directions as to where to go from here.