Relatively little research has been conducted on auditory affect, and less research has focused on quantifying the nature of potential acoustic cues to emotion. A production study was conducted to address the possibility that one dynamic acoustic variable, talker amplitude, may systematically vary as a function of intended affect. Six talkers (three male, three female) were instructed to produce 200 target words with different emotional valences (e.g., joy versus sadness). Target words were phonetically balanced (PB), and each word was produced within a standard carrier phrase. Temporally specific intensity measurements were recorded for each target word. Descriptively and statistically distinct contours were obtained as a function of intended emotion. Furthermore, talkers differed in the way they produced amplitude contours for each emotion. The perceptual relevance of the observed affect-based differences in amplitude then was evaluated. Average contours for joy and sadness were applied to an emotionally neutral set of (CV) stimuli. Listeners discriminated the resulting contours within a two-alternative forced choice task, and sensitivity was evaluated using signal detection analyses. Implications for the potential role of amplitude in the perception of emotion, as well as for the representation of talker information, in words will be discussed.
Acoustical Society of America Journal
- Pub Date:
- October 2003