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Nonverbal Elements of the Voice

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Abstract

The human voice is capable of making a wide variety of sounds. From a psychological point of view, what is interesting is that only some configurations of sounds are meaningful to others. There are the words we choose, which are combinations of sounds that symbolically represent various concepts we are trying to communicate. But even those sounds that compose words have variations that can impart meaning independent of those words — even to the point of changing their meaning entirely. The phrase “It’s not what you said, but how you said it” exists in our parlance because we have come to recognize the reality that the nonverbal elements that accompany the spoken word are as important as the actual words in creating meaning. In fact, when we speak we unleash three distinct types of information upon listeners through our voices, of which one is verbal, while the other two are nonverbal. Thus we can separate the voice channel into three different subchannels. The first subchannel is the verbal subchannel, and consists of the actual words we speak. The second subchannel is the speech style subchannel, which consists of the patterns of pausing and other irregularities of speech that accompany the words spoken. The third subchannel is the speech tone subchannel, which consists of the acoustic properties of speech such as loudness and pitch.

Keywords

  • Facial Expression
  • Nonverbal Behavior
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Agreement Rate
  • Speech Rate

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© 2015 Mark G. Frank, Darrin J. Griffin, Elena Svetieva, and Andreas Maroulis

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Frank, M.G., Griffin, D.J., Svetieva, E., Maroulis, A. (2015). Nonverbal Elements of the Voice. In: Kostić, A., Chadee, D. (eds) The Social Psychology of Nonverbal Communication. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137345868_5

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