Poster Session D, Monday, March 25, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Rethinking affective vocalizations
Natalie Holz1, Pauline Larrouy-Maestri1, David Poeppel1,2; 1Max-Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt, Germany, 2New York University, New York, New York, USA
Humans employ vocal information to sense and categorize affective states of others in everyday social interactions. The nature of this categorization process is debated, as is the informational or diagnostic content of such emotion expressions. Thorough investigation has remained difficult with existing stimulus sets, as they mainly rely on stereotypical expressions lacking ecological variability, or in the case of real-life expressions do not provide the possibility to systematically manipulate emotion intensity. Notably, little is known about the perceptual and acoustic properties of peak emotional states, oftentimes expressed through screams, which, featuring a set of acoustic cues distinct from speech and prosodic information, constitute valuable material to illuminate the mechanisms underlying vocal emotion perception. We describe a new corpus consisting of 480 human nonverbal vocalizations representing three positive emotions (achievement, surprise, and sexual pleasure) and three negative emotions (anger, fear, and physical pain), ranging from low to peak emotion intensity, produced by 10 female speakers. Database design and selection procedure were optimized to ensure the best possible naturalness of stimuli as well as to uphold within-category variability. Perceptual validation of the corpus was completed by three groups of participants (n = 90 in total) and includes data from a forced choice categorization task, an emotion rating task, ratings on the affect dimensions valence and arousal, along with authenticity ratings for each stimulus. Our results, building on a new ecologically valid corpus, challenge the notion of diagnostic acoustic representations and underscore the necessity to reassess conceptions of emotions.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions