Reference : A virtual audience for public speaking: A pilot study
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Poster
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Treatment & clinical psychology
A virtual audience for public speaking: A pilot study
Menjot, Pauline mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de logopédie > > >]
Leclercq, Anne-Lise mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de Logopédie > Logopédie clinique >]
Schyns, Michael mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > HEC Liège : UER > UER Opérations : Informatique de gestion >]
Etienne, Elodie mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > HEC Liège : UER > UER Opérations >]
Remacle, Angélique mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de Logopédie > Logopédie des troubles de la voix >]
Meeting of the Groupe de Contact de Psycholinguistique et Neurolinguistique (GCPN)
December 1st 2020
Groupe de contact FNRS : Psycholinguistique & Neurolinguistique
[en] speech production ; public speaking ; virtual reality ; speech disfluencies ; anxiety
[en] Background. Public speaking is one of the most feared activities, with approximately two-thirds of undergraduates afraid to speak in public (Ferreira Marinho et al., 2017). This form of anxiety has consequences on communication performance (King & Finn, 2017), particularly on speech fluency (Goberman et al., 2011), and quality of speech can influence a speaker’s career success (Wörtwein et al., 2015). While the literature highlights the benefits of public speaking training on communication performance (Goberman et al., 2011), its implementation is complex. Therefore, virtual reality (VR) seems to be an innovative and relevant tool for clinicians.
Aims. This study aims to validate the use of a virtual audience for public speaking by assessing its capacity to elicit emotional (i.e. anxiety) and behavioral (i.e. disfluencies) responses confirming its ecological validity.
Methodology. Eight participants made an oral presentation in front of a virtual audience. Their speech disfluencies and anxiety were analyzed. They also completed questionnaires assessing the quality of VR based on the feeling of presence and side effects (i.e. cybersickness).
Results. The emotional (anxiety) and behavioral responses (speech disfluencies), the sufficient feeling of presence, and the absence of cybersickness suggest that this virtual audience can be a relevant tool for public speaking training and rehabilitation.
Conclusions. This pilot study is the first step in a long-term project. It highlights the positive points of a virtual audience as well as those requiring improvement. Further studies are needed to enhance this virtual environment and statistically confirm its ecological validity.
- Ferreira Marinho, A. C., Mesquita de Medeiros, A., Côrtes Gama, A. C., & Caldas Teixeira, L. (2017). Fear of Public Speaking: Perception of College Students and Correlates. Journal of Voice, 31(1), 7-11.
- Goberman, A. M., Hughes, S., & Haydock, T. (2011). Acoustic characteristics of public speaking: Anxiety and practice effects. Speech Communication, 53(6), 867–876.
- King, P. E., & Finn, A. N. (2017). A test of attention control theory in public speaking: cognitive load influences the relationship between state anxiety and verbal production. Communication Education, 66(2), 168–182.
- Wörtwein, T., Chollet, M., Schauerte, B., Morency, L.-P., Stiefelhagen, R., & Scherer, S. (2015). Multimodal Public Speaking Performance Assessment. International Conference on Multimodal Interaction, 43–50.

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