Rachel E. Kushner
MGH-Inst. of Health Professions, 101 Merrimac St., Boston, MA 02114
Corine A. Bickley
MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139
The similarities of voice between members of the same family were found to be high when measured both perceptually and acoustically. The recordings of nine subjects (two mothers, two daughters, two sisters, two brothers, and an unrelated male) were made using sentences of different stress and reiterant syllable combinations. The recordings were paired into related and unrelated sets. Unfamilar listeners were instructed to listen to the recordings and rate their similarity on a numerical scale. Results showed that paired voices of those who were related showed a significant number of high scores as opposed to the voiced pairs of individuals who were unrelated. It was also found that voice similarity was more easily detected when the listeners heard whole sentences as opposed to reiterant syllables and individual words. Other influential factors associated with high scores (similar sounding voices) were equal prosody and volume. Related pairs who had similar prosody scored higher than unrelated pairs with similar prosody. Acoustic measurements of individual voices found that the difference in amplitude of the first and second harmonic as well as the spectral tilt were related to the listener's judgment about voice similarities.