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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Speech in the Process of Becoming Bored

R. Cowie, A. McGuiggan, E. McMahon, E. Douglas-Cowie

Queen's University, UK

We have developed paradigms for studying speech in everyday emotional states, including boredom. 12 subjects spent 30 mins each watching repetitive computer displays and describing them. We recorded their speech, and three indices of their state - error rate; time per display; and self rated boredom. There appeared to be three phases: 1) fresh; 2) when boredom ratings reached a ceiling; 3) towards the end, with similar ratings, but impaired performance. Several different patterns of change were seen in speech. Energy below 500Hz rose throughout, and F0 standard deviation fell throughout. Others changes mirrored subjective ratings: time spent speaking per screen, and number and duration of substantial pauses, fell from phase 1 to phase 3, then stabilized. Others mirrored error rate, with change mainly after phase 2 (number of short breaks and energy in the range 2-5kHz). Such patterns integrate well into recent accounts that view emotion in terms of loosely correlated changes in multiple variables.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Cowie, R. / McGuiggan, A. / McMahon, E. / Douglas-Cowie, E. (2003): "Speech in the process of becoming bored", In ICPhS-15, 2873-2876.