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A moan of pleasure should be breathy : The effect of voice quality on the meaning of human nonverbal vocalizations

Anikin, Andrey LU (2020) In Phonetica
Abstract
Prosodic features, such as intonation and voice intensity, have a well-documented role in communicating emotion, but less is known about the role of laryngeal voice quality in speech and particularly in nonverbal vocalizations such as laughs and moans. Potentially, however, variations in voice quality between tense and breathy may convey rich information about the speaker’s physiological and affective state. In this study breathiness was manipulated in synthetic human nonverbal vocalizations by adjusting the relative strength of upper harmonics and aspiration noise. In experiment 1 (28 prototypes × 3 manipulations = 84 sounds), otherwise identical vocalizations with tense versus breathy voice quality were associated with higher arousal... (More)
Prosodic features, such as intonation and voice intensity, have a well-documented role in communicating emotion, but less is known about the role of laryngeal voice quality in speech and particularly in nonverbal vocalizations such as laughs and moans. Potentially, however, variations in voice quality between tense and breathy may convey rich information about the speaker’s physiological and affective state. In this study breathiness was manipulated in synthetic human nonverbal vocalizations by adjusting the relative strength of upper harmonics and aspiration noise. In experiment 1 (28 prototypes × 3 manipulations = 84 sounds), otherwise identical vocalizations with tense versus breathy voice quality were associated with higher arousal (general alertness), higher dominance, and lower valence (unpleasant states). Ratings on discrete emotions in experiment 2 (56 × 3 = 168 sounds) confirmed that breathiness was reliably associated with positive emotions, particularly in ambiguous vocalizations (gasps and moans). The spectral centroid did not fully account for the effect of manipulation, confirming that the perceived change in voice quality was more specific than a general shift in timbral brightness. Breathiness is thus involved in communicating emotion with nonverbal vocalizations, possibly due to changes in low-level auditory salience and perceived vocal effort. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
in
Phonetica
publisher
Karger
external identifiers
  • scopus:85078418480
ISSN
0031-8388
DOI
10.1159/000504855
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
eff079eb-4e8e-4c7c-ad5e-94cd510be565
date added to LUP
2020-01-22 10:42:50
date last changed
2020-02-12 10:19:46
@article{eff079eb-4e8e-4c7c-ad5e-94cd510be565,
  abstract     = {Prosodic features, such as intonation and voice intensity, have a well-documented role in communicating emotion, but less is known about the role of laryngeal voice quality in speech and particularly in nonverbal vocalizations such as laughs and moans. Potentially, however, variations in voice quality between tense and breathy may convey rich information about the speaker’s physiological and affective state. In this study breathiness was manipulated in synthetic human nonverbal vocalizations by adjusting the relative strength of upper harmonics and aspiration noise. In experiment 1 (28 prototypes × 3 manipulations = 84 sounds), otherwise identical vocalizations with tense versus breathy voice quality were associated with higher arousal (general alertness), higher dominance, and lower valence (unpleasant states). Ratings on discrete emotions in experiment 2 (56 × 3 = 168 sounds) confirmed that breathiness was reliably associated with positive emotions, particularly in ambiguous vocalizations (gasps and moans). The spectral centroid did not fully account for the effect of manipulation, confirming that the perceived change in voice quality was more specific than a general shift in timbral brightness. Breathiness is thus involved in communicating emotion with nonverbal vocalizations, possibly due to changes in low-level auditory salience and perceived vocal effort.},
  author       = {Anikin, Andrey},
  issn         = {0031-8388},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Karger},
  series       = {Phonetica},
  title        = {A moan of pleasure should be breathy : The effect of voice quality on the meaning of human nonverbal vocalizations},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000504855},
  doi          = {10.1159/000504855},
  year         = {2020},
}