Acoustic properties of dominance and request utterances in social anxiety

Lior Galili, Ofer Amir, Eva Gilboa-Schechtman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Social anxiety (SA) has been consistently linked to subjectively rated perceptions of nonconfident vocal communication, yet the link between SA and objective vocal properties remains understudied. The present study aimed to explore the association between SA and auditory parameters of planned speech differing in expressive intent. Participants (n = 95) read neutral, command, and request sentences. Acoustic properties (fundamental frequency-mF0, intensity, speech rate, speech fluency) of these utterances were analyzed. Consistent with a pattern of nonconfident vocal performance, SA was associated with a higher mF0 in men and women, and lesser vocal intensity in men. Moreover, as compared to neutral sentences, SA was associated with lesser increase of vocal intensity in command utterances, and greater decrease of vocal intensity in request utterances. In men, but not in women, SA was also associated with slower speech rate in request sentences. Socially anxious men, and to a lesser degree, socially anxious women, appear to exhibit an enhanced use of vocal strategies associated with de-escalation of conflict. The importance of examining the production of nonverbal cues of dominance and affiliation in SA is highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-673
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


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