The persuasiveness of synthetic speech versus human speech

Steven E. Stern, John W. Mullennix, Corrie Lynn Dyson, Stephen J. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Is computer-synthesized speech as persuasive as the human voice when presenting an argument? After completing an attitude pretest, 193 participants were randomly assigned to listen to a persuasive appeal under three conditions: a high-quality synthesized speech system (DECtalk Express), a low-quality synthesized speech system (Monologue), and a tape recording of a human voice. Following the appeal, participants completed a posttest attitude survey and a series of questionnaires designed to assess perceptions of speech qualities, perceptions of the speaker, and perceptions of the message. The human voice was generally perceived more favorably than the computer-synthesized voice, and the speaker was perceived more favorably when the voice was a human voice than when it was computer synthesized. There was, however, no evidence that computerized speech, as compared with the human voice, affected persuasion or perceptions of the message. Actual or potential applications of this research include issues that should be considered when designing synthetic speech systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-595
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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