ASA 130th Meeting - St. Louis, MO - 1995 Nov 27 .. Dec 01

3pSC5. Vocal expression of emotion is associated with formant characteristics.

Jo-Anne Bachorowski

Dept. of Psych., Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN 37240

Michael J. Owren

Reed College, Portland, OR 97202

Acoustic properties of speech likely provide external cues about internal emotions, a phenomenon called ``vocal expression of emotion.'' Most empirical work in this area has emphasized global measures, such as pitch, speech rate, and overall amplitude. In this work, associations between induced positive and negative emotions and more fine-grained formant characteristics were tested. Subjects were 120 undergraduates who completed a questionnaire measuring their typical intensity of emotional experience and thereafter performed a challenging lexical-decision task during which noncontingent feedback occurred. On each of 10 baseline and 20 on-task trials, subjects spoke the words ``Test n test'' (n referred to next trial or trial block). The intent was to induce positive and negative emotions by providing success and failure feedback, and to measure the expression of emotion during the experience of those states. Analysis focused on the (backward eh) phoneme from the first ``test.'' Frequency and amplitude of F1, F2, and F3 were examined with MANOVAs that examined changes between baseline and on-task trials, as well as differences associated with the feedback conditions. Subjects who reported experiencing emotions intensely were found to show statistically significant changes in formant characteristics between baseline and on-task trials in both feedback conditions.