An investigation of effective visual speech reception: its relationship to personality variables, sex, intelligence, and conditionability
Worsham, John Wiliam
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Any degree of impairment of the ability to receive communications from others through auditory channels may be partially compensated for through the use of visual sensory channels. This process, variously called lipreading, speechreading, and visual speech reception (VSR) is incompletely understood. Study of the VSR process should aid in the development of improved techniques for teaching the process to the deaf and hard-of-hearing, and it should also enhance the understanding of interpersonal communication in normal hearing individuals. Indications are that early life experiences either facilitate or hamper the development of tendencies toward seeking to understand the communication of others. The interpersonal mother-child matrix, for example, may lead a child to develop the idea that communication with others is desirable, in which case such an individual would develop into a better receiver than an individual who had learned that communication with others is undesirable, or at least, not desirable. Work on the concept of arousal has lead to the realization that whether one attends to certain environmental stimuli to the exclusion of others partly depends upon which stimuli are positively arousing. Stimuli which are positively arousing for some persons are not for others, and this differentiation may be based upon the quality of experience one has previously had with the particular complexes of stimuli in question. Thus there are operational supports for those writers who believe that the quality of the mother-child relationship may lead one to tend to either seek out or avoid messages from others. Cattell's conception of personality structure has developed from his empirical finding that groups of people demonstrate a number of consistent interrelationships which probably operate as the underlying sources of observed behavior. These traits may be measured using the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (I6 PF). A major aim of this study involved determining whether or not certain of these source traits are related to VSR. Hypotheses were proposed as follows: VSR was expected to be positively related to I6 PF source traits A (emotional warmth vs. coldness), F (surgency-desurgency), and I (sensitivity vs. tough-mindedness). VSR was expected to be negatively related to source trait L (suspiciousness trustfulness). In addition, VSR was expected to be superior in females, to be correlated with intelligence, and to be related to speed of conditioning. Sixty-two college students were administered a film test of lipreading replicated from a carefully researched and standardized instrument. The I6 PF and the Otis Employment Tests were administered, and the first 31 subjects were conditioned--using a shock for the unconditioned stimulus (UCS) and a click for the conditioned stimulus (CS). The data were factor analyzed and subjected to a multiple linear regression analysis. Results indicated that several of Cattell's source traits were significantly related to VSR. An unhypothesized relationship also developed, revealing that dominance or assertiveness (trait E) was negatively related to VSR performance, as was suspiciousness (trait L). Sensitivity (trait I) was an im.portant quality in good VSR performance, and females were far superior to males, as was anticipated. Neither intelligence nor conditionability produced significant correlations with VSR performance. Five factors were extracted, one of which was clearly a VSR factor. Factor loadings included VSR, "femaleness," trustfulness, warmth, openness, sensitivity, lack of compensatory dominance needs, and expediency. This study produced results which justify further study of the communication process through an examination of VSR. These results were discussed in light of Young's thesis that organisms indulge in activities which follow a hedonlc principle of maximizing the positive and minimizing the negative. The importance of the cognitive control principles of field articulation and scanning were also discussed.