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AAC Device, augmentative communication, alternative communication


There is an estimated 2 million individuals who utilize an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) system to communicate with others (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association). The systems include programs and handheld technology-based devices for individuals with complex communication needs (ICCN) who may rely on AAC to supplement communication. The communication partner’s perception of a device user’s authenticity and credibility may be hindered due to the device. An issue may lie in the programming for the AAC programs and devices as they are not developed with an evidence-based approach (Light & McNaughton, 2012). The device may include intelligible vocabulary in stored messages which may hinder the perception of credibility (Thon & Jucks, 2017). The device may not allow the user to compose original utterances hindering their ability to express their authentic selves. Additionally, Ma & Yu (2013) found an individual’s voice quality may lead listener’s to falsely perceive their credibility, authenticity, and other social attributes. The quality of a synthesized voice may impact the perception of authenticity and credibility. This study will observe the perception of an AAC device user’s credibility and authenticity. Guided by the uncertainty reduction theory, this theory will observe the receiver’s perception of an AAC device user’s credibility and authenticity. The experiment will utilize a 2 (device user vs non-device user) X 2 (ICCN vs not) experimental design. The participants will be randomly assigned and watched video clips depending on the condition. The following are expected to be found: a device user is less credible than a non-user, the device user is less authentic than a non-user, and uncertainty mediates the receiver’s perception of credibility and authenticity. The results of this study will contribute to the field of computer-mediated communication as well as the development of the AAC programs and devices.

First Advisor

Travis Loof

Research Area

Contemporary Media & Journalism