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Speaker Sex Perception from Spontaneous and Volitional Nonverbal Vocalizations

Lavan, N; Domone, A; Fisher, B; Kenigzstein, N; Scott, SK; McGettigan, C; (2018) Speaker Sex Perception from Spontaneous and Volitional Nonverbal Vocalizations. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 10.1007/s10919-018-0289-0. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

In two experiments, we explore how speaker sex recognition is affected by vocal flexibility, introduced by volitional and spontaneous vocalizations. In Experiment 1, participants judged speaker sex from two spontaneous vocalizations, laughter and crying, and volitionally produced vowels. Striking effects of speaker sex emerged: For male vocalizations, listeners’ performance was significantly impaired for spontaneous vocalizations (laughter and crying) compared to a volitional baseline (repeated vowels), a pattern that was also reflected in longer reaction times for spontaneous vocalizations. Further, performance was less accurate for laughter than crying. For female vocalizations, a different pattern emerged. In Experiment 2, we largely replicated the findings of Experiment 1 using spontaneous laughter, volitional laughter and (volitional) vowels: here, performance for male vocalizations was impaired for spontaneous laughter compared to both volitional laughter and vowels, providing further evidence that differences in volitional control over vocal production may modulate our ability to accurately perceive speaker sex from vocal signals. For both experiments, acoustic analyses showed relationships between stimulus fundamental frequency (F0) and the participants’ responses. The higher the F0 of a vocal signal, the more likely listeners were to perceive a vocalization as being produced by a female speaker, an effect that was more pronounced for vocalizations produced by males. We discuss the results in terms of the availability of salient acoustic cues across different vocalizations.

Type: Article
Title: Speaker Sex Perception from Spontaneous and Volitional Nonverbal Vocalizations
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10919-018-0289-0
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1007/s10919-018-0289-0
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2018. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Speaker sex, Nonverbal vocalizations, Laughter, Fundamental frequency, Crying, Spontaneous
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10061237
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