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Happy talk: Perceptual and acoustic effects of smiling on speech

Abstract

Smiling is a universally recognized visible expression of happiness. A side effect of smiling is an alteration of the vocal tract, suggesting that during vocalization smiling may be heard as well as seen. The present studies investigated this hypothesis. Smiled and straight-faced tokens of 29 utterances were collected from six speakers, and presented to three groups of 12 subjects for forced-choice identification. Groups 1 and 2, instructed to select the. smiled or happier sound, respectively, performed significantly better than chance for all speakers. Group 3, asked to select the sadder sound, chose the straight-faced token reliably :For four speakers, but for one also picked the smiled token. Acoustic analyses showed that smiling raised the fundamental and formant frequencies for all speakers and amplitude and/or duration for some. Particular cue combinations appear to be heard as smiling specifically, whereas others are associated with emotionality in general.

Reference Notes

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Tartter, V.C. Happy talk: Perceptual and acoustic effects of smiling on speech. Perception & Psychophysics 27, 24–27 (1980). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03199901

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Keywords

  • Acoustical Society
  • Formant Frequency
  • Vocal Tract
  • Speech Rate
  • Acoustical Society ofAmerica