The beloved series "Gilmore Girls" is known for its fast-talking characters. The beloved series "Gilmore Girls" is known for its fast-talking characters. The beloved series "Gilmore Girls" is known for its fast-talking characters. (Photo: Randy Tepper/The WB)

Are you a fast talker? You might want to slow down

A new study says that in the end, it's not the speed of our speech that matters, it's how we convey information.

Loud talkers, close talkers, smooth talkers, how-long-until-they-stop-talking talkers ... you might say the ways in which we communicate are as varied as Midwestern weather patterns.

But a new study revealed something surprising: no matter the speed of your speech, we all pretty much convey the same amount of information.

"It seems the constraints on how much information per second we should transmit are fairly strict, or stricter than we thought they were," said the author, a graduate of Tel Aviv University.The study, published this week in the journal Cognition, was led by Uriel Cohen Priva, an Israeli-born professor of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences at Brown University in Rhode Island. He contends that faster speech actually packs less information than slower.

In the study, he analyzed two sets of conversational data: one is a trove of phone conversations, the other a bunch of long interviews. He analyzed each group, which added up to about 400 people, and calculated their information and speech rates. Among other observations, he compared the average speed of a particular word to how long individual speakers actually took, as well as how often each speaker used the passive voice, compared to the active voice.

Ultimately, the two data sets added up to one general conclusion: as speech speeds up, the amount of information slows down.

What's the takeaway here? If you really want to get your point across, don't be like this guy:

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