15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


Voice Quality Variation and the Perception of Affect: Continuous or Categorical?

Colin Ryan, Ailbhe Ní Chasaide, Christer Gobl

Trinity College, Ireland

This paper explores the mapping of voice quality to affect, for a synthesised tense - lax voice continuum. Two questions are of interest. Firstly, over such a continuum, do listeners' attributions of affect change in a continuous or in a more categorical way? Secondly, might discreetly different affects emerge at different points in the continuum: specifically, might a moderately tense voice cue happy? Note that extremely tense does not appear to, but seems rather to be associated with the affect angry. A continuum of stimuli were synthesised ranging from a very tense quality at one end to a very lax quality at the other. Listeners rated their affective colouring in terms of the pairs of affective attributes: stressed/relaxed, angry/content, happy/sad, interested/bored, formal/intimate, and indignant/apologetic. Results suggest that, for these voice qualities, listeners' attribution of affect is essentially continuous. Furthermore, moderate tension does not evoke happy.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ryan, Colin / Ní Chasaide, Ailbhe / Gobl, Christer (2003): "Voice quality variation and the perception of affect: continuous or categorical?", In ICPhS-15, 2409-2412.