Recognizing prosody across modalities, face areas and speakers: Examining perceivers' sensitivity to variable realizations of visual prosody

Erin Cvejic, Jeesun Kim, Chris Wayne Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Prosody can be expressed not only by modification to the timing, stress and intonation of auditory speech but also by modifying visual speech. Studies have shown that the production of visual cues to prosody is highly variable (both within and across speakers), however behavioural studies have shown that perceivers can effectively use such visual cues. The latter result suggests that people are sensitive to the type of prosody expressed despite cue variability. The current study investigated the extent to which perceivers can match visual cues to prosody from different speakers and from different face regions. Participants were presented two pairs of sentences (consisting of the same segmental content) and were required to decide which pair had the same prosody. Experiment 1 tested visual and auditory cues from the same speaker and Experiment 2 from different speakers. Experiment 3 used visual cues from the upper and the lower face of the same talker and Experiment 4 from different speakers. The results showed that perceivers could accurately match prosody even when signals were produced by different speakers. Furthermore, perceivers were able to match the prosodic cues both within and across modalities regardless of the face area presented. This ability to match prosody from very different visual cues suggests that perceivers cope with variation in the production of visual prosody by flexibly mapping specific tokens to abstract prosodic types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-453
Number of pages12
JournalCognition
Volume122
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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