Evaluative Listening explained

Evaluative Listening - Toolshero

Evaluative Listening: this article explains evaluative listening in a practical way. This article contains the definition of eveluative listening, examples and practical tips. After reading it you will understand the basics of this powerful communication method.

What is Evaluative Listening?

Evaluative listening refers to a type of listening where the listener listens critically to the message and directly evaluates and interprets it. It is also known as critical listening, judgmental listening or interpretive listening. These concepts and methods are all related to evaluative listening.


Evaluative listening is a critical assessment of a person’s statements and messages during a conversation or other interaction. The concept was defined by Carl Rogers in the 1950s. He indicated that this form of listening produces an immediate response that is strongly influenced by emotions and prejudices.

Free Toolshero ebook

Evaluative listening has a negative connotation in psychology, as the concept implies that a listener interprets a speaker’s statements in a biased way. Carl Rogers further added that this form of listening represents a barrier to interpersonal communication and that it is very likely that the two or more parties involved miss the essence of the message.

Instead of evaluative listening, Rogers suggested empathic listening or active listening.


In general, people try to judge the truth or fact behind the saying. It is possible that what is said goes against the values of the listener. It does not matter whether it is good or bad, morally correct or incorrect, worthy or unworthy. Evaluative listening is about people’s ability to process information and then transform it into feelings.

Evaluating is therefore very relevant in situations where people try to convince one another. Persuasion is done to change certain behavior, mentality or to encourage people to take certain actions.

Evaluative Listening example

An example of evaluative listening is visible in jury trial situations. In that case, the jury listens to the arguments made by the defendants’ lawyers. Another example is when an academic listens to a researcher presenting a case or study to colleagues.

Instead of listening, you can also read evaluative. Many people do this in everyday life. When something is read on the internet, the reader tries to distinguish the facts from it. This allows him or her to accept and receive what is being read. The information that comes in through the senses is in this way attuned to beliefs and knowledge.

Join the Toolshero community

Now It’s Your Turn

What do you think? Do you recognize the explanation about evaluative listening? Do you often use this way of listening? Do you use it in combination with other listening styles? Are you critical in assessing messages in interpersonal communication? Do you have any tips or comments?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  1. Vinson, L. R., Johnson, C., & Hackman, M. Z. (1993). Explaining the effects of powerless language use on the evaluative listening process: A theory of implicit prototypes. International Listening Association. Journal, 7(1), 35-53.
  2. Purdy, M. (1997). What is listening. Listening in everyday life: A personal and professional approach, 2, 1-20.
  3. Weaver III, J. B., & Kirtley, M. D. (1995). Listening styles and empathy. Southern Journal of Communication, 60(2), 131-140.
  4. Johnston, M. K., Weaver III, J. B., Watson, K. W., & Barker, L. B. (2000). Listening styles: Biological or psychological differences?. International Journal of Listening, 14(1), 32-46.

How to cite this article:
Janse, B. (2022). Evaluative Listening. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/communication-methods/evaluative-listening/

Published on: 03/21/2022 | Last update: 08/15/2023

Add a link to this page on your website:
<a href=”https://www.toolshero.com/communication-methods/evaluative-listening/”>Toolshero: Evaluative Listening</a>

Did you find this article interesting?

Your rating is more than welcome or share this article via Social media!

Average rating 4 / 5. Vote count: 4

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Ben Janse
Article by:

Ben Janse

Ben Janse is a young professional working at ToolsHero as Content Manager. He is also an International Business student at Rotterdam Business School where he focusses on analyzing and developing management models. Thanks to his theoretical and practical knowledge, he knows how to distinguish main- and side issues and to make the essence of each article clearly visible.


Leave a Reply