The Psychology of the Audience

The Psychology of the Audience

The Psychology of the Audience

The Psychology of the Audience

Excerpt

This volume owes its existence first of all to the members of a college debating club, who invited the author to give them a lecture on the psychology of the audience. In complying with this request a search was made for such matter-of-fact and experimentally verified data as the literature of social psychology and of public speaking might afford. The search was but poorly rewarded. Rules and principles were found in sufficient number, and advice was freely offered in manuals; but little but persona opinion was offered in support of the various admonitions.

The appetite of the debating club was easily enough satisfied, but by that time an intrinsic interest in the topic had developed. Investigations were found the results of which seemed directly applicable to the psychology of the audience, however foreign this interest may have been to the original investigator. A few experimental studies dealing directly with audience situations were discovered. New ones were instituted by students and fellow workers. Gradually the results appeared to lend themselves to systematic presentation. They were meager and often inconclusive, but they led to further inquiries and made it possible to conduct a short seminar on the topic.

The topic was then laid by for maturation. But it soon proved to be a subject of interest to those outside the laboratory and the classroom. Teachers of public speaking, clergymen, extension institutes, and clubs asked to have the topic considered. The original one lecture ex-

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