Investigating the effect of joint speech on discrimination of truth


People in groups frequently coordinate their actions with others to produce joint actions – even when such joint actions incur motor costs with no clear goal (e.g. a Mexican wave at a football match) – and this is likely done to increase one’s sense of group cohesion, affiliation, and social connection with other actors (Hove & Risen, 2009; Marsh, Richardson, & Schmidt, 2009). One example of joint action is joint speech (found in many religious and cultural practices; e.g. communal prayer, the United States Pledge of Allegiance, or chanting at a football match), which unlike other instances of joint action can vary in terms of semantic content. That is, in addition to the prosocial consequences of performing in synchrony, joint speech may have the additional effect of manipulating participants’ beliefs or attitudes related to what is being said. We present preliminary work that explores this, where participants read true and false factual statements aloud either individually or as a pair, and made individual and joint decisions about their veracity. We find no evidence that joint speech production influences participants’ beliefs about statement veracity, suggesting that the cognitive consequences of joint speech production have limited effect on epistemic evaluations.

Queen Mary University, London