Effects of distributing "handouts" during a speech on receivers' inferred information processing

Burt Pryor, Jeff Butler, Aaron Boyson, Rufus L. Barfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The experiment examined the adage that material should never be given members of an audience during a speech presentation. 45 students enrolled in speech fundamentals courses were exposed to one of three versions of a speech, which informed students of an impending $50 fee increase to improve university parking facilities. The speaker, allegedly a representative from Parking Services, discussed four main benefits of the fee increase. In one version, he began by distributing a handout listing four main benefits to the fee increase. A second version listed four benefits different from those identified in the speech, while a control condition received no handout. The control condition established the receivers' dominant cognitive response as negative. This negative response was accentuated when the handout repeated the four main points but was less when the handout provided a competing message in the form of information not contained in the speech. Results were discussed with reference to previous research on distraction theory and repetition of a message.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-150
Number of pages6
JournalPerceptual and motor skills
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes


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