Listen out! Behavioural and subjective responses to verbal warnings

Jessica Ljungberg, Fabrice Parmentier, Rob Hughes, W.J. Macken, Dylan M Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Both the behavioural and subjective impacts of single-word spoken warnings were examined. Behaviourally, the effect of infrequently occurring warnings was studied through their disruptive impact on a visually presented serial recall task. In
separate experiments, ratings of the same words were elicited. Experiment 1 showed a localized effect of the warnings (on the item immediately following the warning), with the urgently intoned warning having a greater disruptive effect than its valence (emotional content). Valence and intonation (urgency) did not interact. The performance changes were mirrored in the ratings of the words. Experiment 2 showed no systematic effect on performance of either the action-relatedness of the word or its
lexicality. There was, however, a systematic effect of lexicality but not action-relatedness on ratings. The study demonstrates the feasibility of using objective performance methods to establish the likely effects of verbal warnings and the utility of using such methods for the design of alarm systems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2012

Cite this