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A new study finds that people consistently disbelieve someone who responds slowly to questions.
Answering questions promptly promotes personal credibility.
Slow, thoughtful responses may count against people.
Whenever someone answers a question, their audience unconsciously considers the way they reply in addition to the response itself. They make a quick, often unconscious, assessment of their sincerity: do they know what they are talking about? Is the answer truthful?
A new study from researchers at the Grenoble Ecole de Management in Grenoble, France, finds that the speed with which a person answers a question may provide an unintentional cue as to the person’s credibility.
When someone responds slowly to a question, their audience is likely to view them as less honest. Answering quickly, on the other hand, creates the impression of authenticity.
According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Ignazio Ziano of Grenoble Ecole de Management:
“Evaluating other people’s sincerity is a ubiquitous and important part of social interactions. Our research shows that response speed is an important cue on which people base their sincerity inferences…