Mediation of interpersonal expectancy effects: Counselor's tone of voice

Peter D. Blanck, Robert Rosenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Investigated the role of tone of voice as a possible factor in the mediation of naturally occurring rather than experimentally produced interpersonal expectancy effects. 10 camp counselors (aged 18-22 yrs) talked about children at camp whom they believed to have high social ability (high social expectancy), high athletic ability (high athletic expectancy), low social ability (low social expectancy), and low athletic ability (low athletic expectancy) in tape-recorded interviews. The counselors themselves were rated by experts at the camp on 8 competence dimensions. 10 judges (5 male and 5 female undergraduates) rated the tone of voice (content-filtered recording) of these interviews. Judges rated the counselors' tone of voice as warmer and less hostile when talking about children for whom they had high expectations than when talking about children for whom they had low expectations. Nonverbal expectancy effects were also detected more accurately by male than female judges and when the counselors talked about social rather than athletic abilities. Counselors who displayed less competent and more ineffective attributes were more prone to biasing effects as reflected in tone of voice, whereas counselors who displayed more competent and more effective attributes generally did not show differential expectancy effects as reflected in their tone of voice. (39 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-426
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1984
Externally publishedYes


  • tone of voice when talking about child believed to have high vs low social or athletic ability, 18-22 yr old camp counselors, implications for mediation of interpersonal expectancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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