College of Liberal Arts
Communication Studies Department
BA in Communication Studies
This study examines the impact of vocal fillers on a person’s perceived likeability, communication competence, professional credibility, and personal credibility. Previous studies have suggested that using filler words or discourse markers may decrease professional credibility and discredit communication competence. However, it is unknown how audience members of different genders will respond to the usage of vocal fillers in comparison to each other. A 2 x 2 factorial experimental design was constructed (N = 145) in which four audio recordings contained four responses to an interview question; the amount of vocal fillers were manipulated (absent or many) and the gender of the speaker in the recording was also manipulated (female or male). Results indicated that the more filler words or discourse markers were used, the less professional and personal credibility was shown, regardless of gender. However, when listening to vocal fillers, although both genders viewed them negatively, males perceived vocal fillers significantly more negatively.