AUC Philologica (Acta Universitatis Carolinae Philologica) is an academic journal published by Charles University. It publishes scholarly articles in a large number of disciplines (English, German, Greek and Latin, Oriental, Romance and Slavonic studies, as well as in phonetics and translation studies), both on linguistic and on literary and cultural topics. Apart from articles it publishes reviews of new academic books or special issues of academic journals.

The journal is indexed in CEEOL, DOAJ, EBSCO, and ERIH PLUS.

AUC PHILOLOGICA, Vol 2019 No 2 (2019), 27–56

Myth busted? Challenging what we think we know about charismatic speech

[Myth busted? Challenging what we think we know about charismatic speech]

Jan Michalsky, Oliver Niebuhr

published online: 18. 10. 2019


Charisma is a complex phenomenon. This fact manifests itself not least in an abundance of myths, half-truths, and unanswered research questions. Most charisma myths have not been uncontroversial, and since empirical investigations have advanced quickly over the past years, we take the opportunity in this paper to revisit ten of the most important myths that relate primarily, but not exclusively, to the linguistic and phonetic aspects of charisma, such as the interactions between verbal and nonverbal and between segmental and prosodic cues, as well as the roles of breathing and fundamental frequency in charisma perception. The result is a very diverse picture. Some myths, including very old ones, can be accepted. Others must be rejected in the light of contradicting empirical results. The status of some myths remains unsettled. Furthermore, in discussing that diverse picture, our paper points towards knowledge gaps in research and practice and gives concrete directions as to where to go from here.

keywords: Charisma; speech prosody; rhetoric; public speaking; posture; breathing; personality traits

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