Books, Articles, and More
TED Talks & Videos on this page
The Impact of (In)effective Listening on Interpersonal Interactions
Fedesco, H.N. (2015). The Impact of (In)effective Listening on Interpersonal Interactions. International Journal of Listening, 29(2), 103-106. Doi:10.1080/10904018.2014.965389
Listening Bibliography & Related Resources
This article provides an excellent summary of the research on task switching.
Barkai, John (1984, June). How to develop the skill of active listening. Practical Lawyer, 30(4), p. 73-84. Available at SSRN:
While dated and focused on an attorney audience, the presented advice remains solid. Active listening increases the depth and accuracy of information gathered and helps identify and understand emotional undertones. Three primary roadblocks to active listening are reviewed.
Bennett, Mark W. (2014, May). Eight traits of great trial lawyers: A Federal Judge’s view on how to shed the moniker ‘I am a litigator.’ Review of Litigation, 33(1).
This review focuses on attorney behaviors. One of the eight traits highlighted is listening.
Bradberry, Travis. (2014, October 8). Multitasking damages your brain and career: New studies suggest. Forbes online.
Bradberry outlines recent brain-related research suggesting that multitasking lowers individual IQ and may also negatively affect one’s EQ.
Brownell, J. (2010). The skills of listening-centered communication. In Andrew D. Wolvin (Ed.), Listening and human communication in the 21st century (Chapter 6). Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444314908.ch6.
Brownell presents her listening-centered approach to communication. From her perspective, speakers must “first listening to understand their partner’s perspective.” She outlines her HURIER model of the listening/communication process. The process views listening “as a cluster of interrelated components that can be identified, assessed, and improved.” Importantly, speaking is viewed as an outcome of effective listening. Included in the chapter is her measure of listening skills.
Gorlick, Adam (2009, August 24). Media multitaskers pay mental price: Stanford study shows. Stanford Report.
This article outlines results from a study examining the effect of heavy multitasking on concentration. In a nutshell, the more we try to multitask, the worse we become at it. It appears that high multitaskers have greater difficulty discriminating between tasks and are worse at filtering out irrelevant information.
Imhof, Margarete. (2010). What is going on in the mind of the listener? The cognitive psychology of listening. In Andrew D. Wolvin (Ed.), Listening and human communication in the 21st century (Chapter 4). Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444314908.ch4.
Bringing together research across a variety of disciplines, Imhof outlines the mental activities involved in listening. She presents a model of listening based on informational processing with the particular goal of distinguishing between hearing and listening processes.
Loder references several articles (with embedded links) to make the point that multitasking crushed productivity. She outlines one technique – the Power Hour – as a means of reducing distractions.
Loh, Kep Kee, & Kanai, Ryota. (2014). Higher media multi-tasking activity is associated with smaller gray-matter density in the anterior cingulate Cortex. PLoS ONE 9(9): e106698. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0106698.
This article presents results of fMRI research on the brains of heavy multi-tasking. Findings suggest that impairment from multitasking may be long lasting. The authors found that high multitaskers had less brain density in the region of the brain responsible for cognitive and emotional control, and empathy.
This brief article summarizes a psychological study of the same name. It describes findings assessing different classroom notetaking techniques and (as noted in its title) which technique is better for retaining information. Longhand note-taking results in a better conceptual understanding of presented material and makes it easier to recall later. Importantly, these findings can transfer to any number of contexts. The original/full article is available here for a small fee: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/25/6/1159
Pashler, Harold. (2000). Task switching and multitask performance. In Monsell, S. & Driver, J. (Eds.), Control of cognitive processes: Attention and Performance XVIII. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
While the language is a bit academic in places, this chapter reviews research related to task switching and dual-task performance, including timing of tasks, similarity, distinctiveness.
Rosen, Christine. (2008, Spring ). The myth of multitasking: The New Atlantis, 20, 105-110.
Rosen provides an insightful essay on the historical rise of multitasking and the science around it.
Weinschenk, S. (2012, September 18). The true cost of multi-tasking. Psychology Today.
Weinschenk provides several excellent suggestions for how to “unplug” from multitasking, including the 80/20 rule, working in “batches” and prioritizing.
Wolvin, Andrew D. (Ed.). (2009). Listening, understanding, and misunderstanding (pp. 137-147). 21st Century Communication: A Reference Handbook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Available via SAGE Reference Online:
This brief article outlines the primary components of the listening process and the factors that may affect them. As listeners “receive, attend, perceive, interpret, and respond to messages, they are influenced by many variables that can enhance or impede effective listening.” Key physiological, social/psychological, and contextual influencers are reviewed.
Brownell, Judi. (2012). Listening: Attitudes, principles, and skills. (5th ed., Pearson).
Listening takes an experiential approach to listening instruction, providing extensive applications and cases within the context of a sound theoretical framework. The text approaches listening as a process involving six interrelated components which are developed along the parallel dimensions of theory and skill building. Within the unifying theoretical framework of the HURIER model, students develop an understanding of the listening process and gain powerful listening skills.
Dugger, Jim. (1992). Learn to Listen. (National Press Publications).
The workbook format provides an easy to use self-study guide with exercises on active listening, nonverbal communication, effective listening techniques, reflective listening, helping poor listeners listen to you, and minimizing conflict. Though over 20 years old, the material provides practical and insightful advice that can help improve listening skills.
Worthington, Debra L., & Bodie, Graham. (Eds.). (Anticipated Spring 2017). The Sourcebook of Listening: Methods and Measures of Listening. (Wiley-Blackwell).
While primarily written for researchers, this text provides an overview of the field of listening, introduces primary approaches researchers have used in their study of listening processes and reviews the validity and reliability of over 50 listening and listening-related measures.
Worthington, Debra L., & Fitch-Hauser, Margaret E. (2012). Listening: Processes, functions, and competency. (Pearson).
This text approaches listening from a theory and research-based perspective. If focuses on listening as a cognitive process, as a social function, and as a critical professional competency. Divided into sections, the text introduces foundational concepts as well as cognitive and individual-related factors that affect listening processes. The second section addresses listening within important relationships, while the third section addresses listening in selected professional contexts, including the law.
Listen Like a Lawyer is an evidence-based blog that, as noted by the author, explores “the theory and practice of effective listening, and how lawyers, law students, and [others] involved in the practice of law can benefit from working on their listening.”
Leben, Steve. (2012, May 26). Good judging often starts with good listening. Procedural Fairness for Judges and Courts.
Leben outlines how staying focused, capturing the message, and helping the speaker are key components of both good judging and increasing individual (and public) perceptions of fairness in when in court.
This activity, and Crenshaw’s review, highlight the problems associated with switch tasking (aka multitasking). He distinguishes between switch tasking (which is counterproductive) and background tasking (which can enhance production)
David Broadbent and the cocktail party effect. BBC4 Radio.
Claudia Hammond explores the ground-breaking work of David Broadbent in dichotic listening, learning that noise has a far greater impact on our efficiency at work than we realize.
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the University of Idaho and others, Go Cognitive provides free educational tools for cognitive neuroscience. In addition to interviews with experts, it hosts a number of demonstrations which allow you to test listening related skills.
This website offers a 33 item listening assessment. The short evaluation is free. A more detailed evaluation is available for a small fee.
MultiTask. Smartkit Puzzle Playground.
This website offers a number of mind-bending activities, including this demonstration of the difficulty of engaging in simultaneous activities.
Multitasking works? Not really, Stanford study shows.
This short Stanford video outlines findings from a recent study conducted by communication scholars at the university.
Selective attention (auditory demonstration). Go Cognitive.
Go Cognitive has developed a demonstration which allows you to explore a number of variables relevant to selective attention. As they note, “playing around with the demonstration will help you experience the role of spatial attention and the importance of similarity among speakers in making the task easier or more difficult.” Two additional points: 1) read the initial instructions carefully to understand how to operate the demonstration; 2) they do not discuss the role of fatigue in their description, which can negatively affect our ability to attend (try doing the demonstration for 2-3 minutes as a test).
An updated version of the original 1999 video, this version also video demonstrates the difficulty the brain has when processing multiple types of incoming information.