Social and personality variables in compensation for altered auditory feedback

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This paper documents that variation in one’s personal sense of empowerment is related to one’s phonetic response to altered auditory feedback. We see this as related to the actuation of sound change, identifying a personal characteristic of individuals who are likely to introduce a change variant. Many speakers react to gradual alteration of auditory feedback by compensating for the manipulation – for example, by raising the frequency of a vowel’s F2 as it is reduced in auditory feedback. However, prior research has found that there is substantial individual variability in the degree of compensation. To test our hypothesis that this variability may be linked to social or personality factors, we investigated the relationship between participants’ responses to altered auditory feedback and their answers on questionnaires measuring a number of personality variables. A significant negative correlation was discovered: the more empowered subjects felt, the less they compensated.


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