Analog acoustic expression in speech communication

Hadas Shintel, Howard C. Nusbaum, Arika Okrent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present the first experimental evidence of a phenomenon in speech communication we call "analog acoustic expression." Speech is generally thought of as conveying information in two distinct ways: discrete linguistic-symbolic units such as words and sentences represent linguistic meaning, and continuous prosodic forms convey information about the speaker's emotion and attitude, intended syntactic structure, or discourse structure. However, there is a third and different channel by which speakers can express meaning in speech: acoustic dimensions of speech can be continuously and analogically modified to convey information about events in the world that is meaningful to listeners even when it is different from the linguistic message. This analog acoustic expression provides an independent and direct means of communicating referential information. In three experiments, we show that speakers can use analog acoustic expression to convey information about observed events, and that listeners can understand the information conveyed exclusively through that signal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-177
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Anne S. Henly and Dan Margoliash for valuable comments on this work and Nicole Donders for her help in data analysis. We also thank Rolf Zwaan and two anonymous reviewers for helpful criticism and suggestions. The support of the University of Chicago Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience and the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health (Grant DC-3378) and the National Institute of Health (Grant P50 MH52384-11) is gratefully acknowledged.

Funding

We thank Anne S. Henly and Dan Margoliash for valuable comments on this work and Nicole Donders for her help in data analysis. We also thank Rolf Zwaan and two anonymous reviewers for helpful criticism and suggestions. The support of the University of Chicago Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience and the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health (Grant DC-3378) and the National Institute of Health (Grant P50 MH52384-11) is gratefully acknowledged.

FundersFunder number
University of Chicago Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience
National Institutes of HealthDC-3378, P50 MH52384-11
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

    Keywords

    • Language production
    • Prosody
    • Spoken language comprehension

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