Body language facilitates communication

Two experiments about the perception of audiovisual cues to emotional speech:  (1) how do visual cues from a speaker’s face to emotion relate to auditory cues, and (2) what is the recognition speed for various facial cues to emotion?

Both experiments reported below are based on tests with video clips of emotional utterances collected via a variant of the well-known Velten method. More specifically, we recorded speakers who displayed positive or negative emotions, which were congruent or incongruent with the (emotional) lexical content of the uttered sentence. In order to test this, we conducted two experiments.

The first experiment is a perception experiment in which Czech participants, who do not speak Dutch, rate the perceived emotional state of Dutch speakers in a bimodal (audiovisual) or a unimodal (audio- or vision-only) condition. It was found that incongruent emotional speech leads to significantly more extreme perceived emotion scores than congruent emotional speech, where the difference between congruent and incongruent emotional speech is larger for the negative than for the positive conditions. Interestingly, the largest overall differences between congruent and incongruent emotions were found for the audio-only condition, which suggests that posing an incongruent emotion has a particularly strong effect on the spoken realization of emotions.

The second experiment uses a gating paradigm to test the recognition speed for various emotional expressions from a speaker’s face. In this experiment participants were presented with the same clips as experiment I, but this time presented vision-only. The clips were shown in successive segments (gates) of increasing duration. Results show that participants are surprisingly accurate in their recognition of the various emotions, as they already reach high recognition scores in the first gate (after only 160 ms).

Interestingly, the recognition scores raise faster for positive than negative conditions. Finally, the gating results suggest that incongruent emotions are perceived as more intense than congruent emotions, as the former get more extreme recognition scores than the latter, already after a short period of exposure.

Pashiera Barkhuysen – Audio Visual prosody in interaction – 3.10.’12 – Tilburg University Holland.


About Gérard Stokkink

Gerard Stokkink, lecturer body language & non verbal communication
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One Response to Body language facilitates communication

  1. Pingback: Won’t Back Down « Lavoce: We Are People Too, Inc.

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