Voice Identification by Man and Machine: a Review of Research

  • Ray Bull
Part of the Oxford Socio-Legal Studies book series (OSLS)


Most criminal identifications are made using visual cues, but there are some instances when both visual and verbal information is available, and others when only verbal cues exist. In obscene telephone calls, for example, often the only possible method of identifying the speaker is by his voice. Similarly, in kidnap cases information concerning the kidnapper’s voice is sometimes made available by him over the telephone. In such situations, when a suspect is in the hands of the police a voice-matching exercise may be undertaken. Here a witness may be asked whether the suspect’s voice resembles the criminal’s voice, or a machine may be employed in an attempt to answer these questions if a record (e.g. a tape) of the original criminal voice is available. In the Psychology Department of the North East London Polytechnic, Brian Clifford and I have recently begun a programme of research (funded by the Home Office) concerning the voice identification performance of human listeners in this kind of context.


Acoustical Society Speaker Recognition Speech Sample Voice Recognition Legal Context 
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© Ray Bull 1981

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  • Ray Bull

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