The influence of prosody on politicians’ credibility


  • Emma Rodero Pompeu Fabra University
  • Lluís Mas Pompeu Fabra University
  • María Blanco Pontifical University of Salamanca



credibility, politician, prosody, public speaking, rhetoric, speech


Prosody is an important feature in communication, and the way a speaker uses the various elements of prosody in public speaking may affect listeners’ perceptions and thus the speaker’s credibility. This paper explores this topic in relation to speeches made in English by three politicians representing their countries’ 2020 Olympic bids at the 125th IOC (International Olympic Committee) Session in Argentina in September 2013. Of these, the speech given by the Mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella, received widespread critical attention due her style of delivery. As such, it illustrates the importance of prosody in public speaking. However, how prosody affects credibility remains unclear. The aim of this study is to analyze the influence of prosody on listeners’ perceptions of politicians’ credibility. We conducted prosody analysis and rhetorical analysis on the three-minute speeches given by the different candidates at the IOC Session. We also conducted a credibility test to assess the relationship between prosody and credibility. The results confirm that prosody influences speakers’ credibility, with the most credible and the best speaker being the politician who used the highest loudness, a moderate pitch level with a wide pitch range, and a faster speech rate with enough pauses of sufficient length. The study also showed that the less influential the prosody parameters were, the more credible the speaker was perceived to be.

Author Biographies

  • Emma Rodero, Pompeu Fabra University

    Emma Rodero is a Researcher and Professor in the Department of Communication at Pompeu Fabra University (Spain). She has PhDs in Communication and in Psychology, and Masters in Pathology of Voice and in Psychology of Cognition. She obtained a Marie Curie fellowship (European Union) to conduct research into cognitive processing of radio commercials. She is the author of ten books and more than fifty scientific papers about radio, voice, and speech.

  • Lluís Mas, Pompeu Fabra University

    Lluís Mas received his PhD in Audiovisual Communication and Advertising from the Autonomous University of Barcelona with honors, and he is currently a Professor in the Communication Department of Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona, Spain). His main research focus is on the analysis and impact of voice, prosody and music in news, advertising, and corporate messages, and the study of public speaking and interpersonal communication.

  • María Blanco, Pontifical University of Salamanca

    María Blanco is a Researcher in knowledge transfer at the Pontifical University of Salamanca (Spain). She has a PhD in Communication (UPSA, Spain) and a degree in Audiovisual Communication and Computer Engineering. Her research focuses on new media such as podcasts and on linguistic analysis, which were the topics of her doctoral thesis. She also researches the impact of sound media, mainly the radio.


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How to Cite

Rodero, E., Mas, L., & Blanco, M. (2019). The influence of prosody on politicians’ credibility. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 11(1), 89-111.