Loafing in the Audience or Fear in the Speaker

University essay from Växjö universitet/Institutionen för samhällsvetenskap


This exploratory study examined the relationship between public speaking anxiety levels indicated by scores on the Personal Report of Confidence as a Speaker questionnaire (PRCS: Paul, 1966) and evaluation probability on a wide domain of evaluation items reflected by scores on the Audience Attention Allocation questionnaire (devised for the purpose of this study). A large student sample (n=220) completed the PRCS as well as the AAA questionnaire. The AAA assessed the perceived allocation of the attentional resources of the audience members during a speech by asking respondents to rate how probable it is that a speaker is evaluated on a set of domains. The results of regression analyses indicated that AAA scores, Gender, and Study year were significant predictors of PRCS scores accounting for 8.5% of the variance. More interestingly, the nature of results obtained was contrary to the hypothesis of the study. It was in fact revealed that subjects scoring low on the AAA questionnaire, indicating less likelihood that audience members make evaluations about the speaker on a variety of items, tended to have higher anxiety scores. The results are discussed in terms of defense mechanisms and response bias.

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