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The effects of difficulty and gain versus loss on vocal physiology and acoustics

Johnstone, T., Van Reekum, C. M. ORCID:, Banziger, T., Hird, K., Kirsner, K. and Scherer, K. R. (2007) The effects of difficulty and gain versus loss on vocal physiology and acoustics. Psychophysiology, 44 (5). pp. 827-837. ISSN 0048-5772

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2007.00552.x


To examine the basis of emotional changes to the voice, physiological and electroglottal measures were combined with acoustic speech analysis of 30 men performing a computer task in which they lost or gained points under two levels of difficulty. Predictions of the main effects of difficulty and reward on the voice were not borne out by the data. Instead, vocal changes depended largely on interactions between gain versus loss and difficulty. The rate at which the vocal folds open and close (fundamental frequency; f0) was higher for loss than for gain when difficulty was high, but not when difficulty was low. Electroglottal measures revealed that f0 changes corresponded to shorter glottal open times for the loss conditions. Longer closed and shorter open phases were consistent with raised laryngeal tension in difficult loss conditions. Similarly, skin conductance indicated higher sympathetic arousal in loss than gain conditions, particularly when difficulty was high. The results provide evidence of the physiological basis of affective vocal responses, confirming the utility of measuring physiology and voice in the study of emotion.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
ID Code:4358
Uncontrolled Keywords:Emotional prosody • Voice • Electroglottography • Physiology • Difficulty • Valence
Additional Information:Conference Information: Meeting on Emotions Inside Out - 130 Years after Darwins the Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals New York, NY, 2002

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