Skutella, Lisa Viktoria; Süssenbach, Luise; Pitsch, Karola; Wagner, Petra:
The prosody of motivation : first results from an indoor cycling scenario
In: Elektronische Sprachsignalverarbeitung 2014 : Tagungsband der 25. Konferenz Dresden, 26. - 28. März 2014 / Hoffmann, Rüdiger (Eds.). - Konferenz Elektronische Sprachsignalverarbeitung, ESSV ; 25 (Dresden) : 2014.03.26-28 - Dresden: TUDpress, 2014 - (Studientexte zur Sprachkommunikation ; 71), pp. 209 - 215
2014book article/chapter in Proceedings
Communication StudiesFaculty of Humanities » Institut für Kommunikationswissenschaft
The prosody of motivation : first results from an indoor cycling scenario
Skutella, Lisa Viktoria; Süssenbach, Luise; Pitsch, KarolaORCID iDLSF; Wagner, Petra


Intuitively, prosody seems to play a key role in what constitutes a „motivational speaking style“. In this study, the phenomenon of motivational prosody is studied within dyadic interactions between an instructor and a trainee during a session of an indoor cycling class. This scenario is characterized by a strong usage of multimodal resources, a predominance of short coordinative instructions and evaluative comments expressed both verbally and non-verbally [1, 2]. These studies indicated that prosody fulfills an important function in the instructor’s motivational function, but its form has not been examined thoroughly. In our exploratory empirical study on motivational contexts, we investigated to what degree instructors report on their usage of prosody as motivational means and examined their prosodic features in indoor cycling situations. As accompanying music is likely to serve as external anchor for rhythmic-prosodic structuring, only training sessions without music were investigated. Both the interviews and the prosodic analyses revealed several characteristics: (i) A high frequency of prominent, usually accented words, fulfills a coordinative and informative function, (ii) Pitch and verbal rhythm mirrors posture and movement tempo, indicating an iconic relationship between pitch and movement. (iii) Rising boundary tones indicate the non-terminality of an exercise, falling ones the opposite. (iv) Rhythmic structure and tempo is synchronized with the instructor’s cycling movements during, but not before and after the individual exercises. (v) Vocal effort and articulatory precision are high during explanation, but are reduced during the subsequent exercises. While having been able to filter out characteristic prosodic patterns, their effectiveness in creating and maintaining motivation remains to be shown.