lecture8 - Perceiving personal characteristics from voice...

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Perceiving personal characteristics from voice Part I: Age
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Introduction The sound a particular speaker produces ultimately depends on that speaker’s physical characteristics. It follows that as our physical characteristics change with age, how we sound changes. Physical differences between speakers may be related to consistent differences in how they sound. Sex, race, age, physical size
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Linking physiology to perception Because of the linkage through the speech chain between physical characteristics and perceived voice quality, listeners often treat voice quality as a “cue” to a speaker’s physical characteristics. Telephone, animation, radio advertising, voice synthesis applications
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Why these studies are popular A common area of study An inherently interesting topic with important biological and evolutionary implications Substantial applied interest Relatively straightforward to design and interpret such studies Easy to measure a speaker’s physical characteristics
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Two important distinctions Organic versus learned markers of a speaker’s characteristics Markers of a characteristic versus stereotypes of that characteristic.
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Age and the voice Aging (from birth to death) is accompanied by a number of changes to the respiratory, phonatory, and articulatory systems. A quick review, so that we can understand why and how these changes affect how speakers sound, because… This is the information listeners have to work with.
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Infants: Respiration The respiratory system is poorly developed at birth. The lungs are very small, but they grow rapidly during first year of life, increasing up to 6 times in volume. The density of elastic fibers in the lungs increases during the first years of life, and the elastic recoil of the lungs increases correspondingly. The angle of the ribs is more horizontal in infants and small children than in adults, so children cannot pivot their ribs very much. Small children generally rely primarily on the diaphragm and on elastic recoil forces for respiration.
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Infants: The larynx The larynx is poorly developed at birth High in the neck The thyroid cartilage and hyoid bone are attached to each other, but separate after birth. The angle of the thyroid cartilage is similar in male and female infants (about 110 degrees in males, and 120 degrees in females), and stays the same until puberty.
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Infants: Vocal folds A newborn infant’s vocal folds are tiny, usually about 2.5-5 mm long. The folds are very immature at birth. Fibers are poorly developed, tissue layers are not differentiated, and the vocal ligament is absent. Control of phonation is poor.
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Infants: Resonance/articulation Because infants’ larynges are high in their necks, the supralaryngeal vocal tract does not provide a very good resonating cavity.
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