Do ‘umm, ugh, uhh’ make a big percentage of your vocabulary? It is time to work on it. A new study shows that taking unusually long pauses creates processing difficulties.
Kristina Lundholm Fors of the University of Gothenburg found that when the other person uses longer pauses, we follow along and do the same thing, and vice versa.
The long pauses in her study were four seconds long.
Lundholm Fors said that four seconds did not sound like a long time, but when we were talking to somebody, it could feel like eternity, adding that a typical pause in speech lasted only about a quarter to half a second.
In an eye tracking study, the test subjects were asked to indicate which sentences they had heard during the experiment.
She found sentences that contained a half second pause, turned out to be significantly easier to understand than sentences that lacked pauses and sentences that contained an unusually long pause.
Lundholm Fors concluded that since the pauses were important for the processing of information, more natural use of pauses in computerised speech could contribute to improved understanding.