Taking unusually long pauses during conversations creates processing difficulties, revealed a new study.
Researcher 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 this study were four seconds long.
Lundholm Fors said, "Four seconds did not sound like a long time, but when we were talking to somebody it could feel like eternity. A typical pause in speech lasted only about a quarter to half a second."
For the study, the test subjects were asked to indicate which sentences they had heard during the experiment. Fors observed that sentences which 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, "Since the pauses were important for the processing of information, more natural use of pauses in computerized speech could contribute to improved understanding."