Psychological and Salivary Cortisol Responses to an Improvised Speech Without an Audience: Comparison to a Rest Condition
Y.Oda & K. Kikuchi
Although it has been reported that making a speech without an audience does not cause a significant cortisol response, there is no study that compares no-audience speech to a rest condition. We randomly assigned Japanese female participants (n = $1) to three conditions: (a) making an improvised speech in front of an audience (audience condition); (b) making such a speech without an audience (no-audience condition); (c) merely listening to such a speech (rest condition). The no-audience condition elicited stronger negative psychological responses to the speech than the rest condition, but these response changes were smaller than those of the audience group. Salivary cortisol levels in the audience condition increased, but that of the no-audience condition decreased to levels not significantly different from that of the rest condition. These results showed that making an improvised speech without an audience causes psychological stress to some extent, but the response of cortisol is similar to the rest condition.

Key words: public speech, without audience, cortisol, psychological responses