Science Project:

Is It What You Say or How You Say It?

4.3 based on 11 ratings

Research Questions:

  • How does your tone of voice influence others’ ability to remember what you say?
  • Do people have an easier time remembering things that were said to them with an upbeat tone of voice?

Your voice can be a powerful tool. When it comes to making an impact on people, how we say things may actually be more important than what we say. This experiment will evaluate this premise by investigating how tone influences people’s short-term memory.

Materials:

  • Large index cards
  • Pictures of everyday objects (eg, cut from a catalogue, printed from a website, etc…)
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • Software for recording audio
  • Several similarly-aged volunteers, both male and female
  • Notebook for recording data

Experimental Procedure

  1. Create flashcards with 20 everyday images (eg, stapler, doorknob, toothpaste). Images should all be approximately the same size.
  2. Make two voice recordings for each image. One recording should have a person naming the object in the picture using a monotone voice. In the next recording, the same person should name the object, this time using an upbeat, excited tone.
  3. Show a test subject each image while they also listen to the recorded voice that tells them what is in the picture (either the monotone or upbeat voice should be selected for each image).
  4. Record which tone was selected for each image.
  5. For each test subject, vary which recorded tone you use for each image. Always have 10 images that use the monotone description and 10 that use the upbeat tone.
  6. After one hour, ask the test subject to list all of the images that they saw.
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 for many test subjects. Include an equal number of male and female participants. Test subjects should all be in the same age group.
  8. Analyze your data. How many of the first 10 images listed by each test subject were described with an upbeat tone? How many were described with the monotone voice?

Terms/Concepts: How does human memory work?; What is tone of voice?

Author: Megan Doyle
Disclaimer and Safety Precautions

Education.com provides the Science Fair Project Ideas for informational purposes only. Education.com does not make any guarantee or representation regarding the Science Fair Project Ideas and is not responsible or liable for any loss or damage, directly or indirectly, caused by your use of such information. By accessing the Science Fair Project Ideas, you waive and renounce any claims against Education.com that arise thereof. In addition, your access to Education.com's website and Science Fair Project Ideas is covered by Education.com's Privacy Policy and site Terms of Use, which include limitations on Education.com's liability.

Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

How likely are you to recommend Education.com to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely