What is it about?

Our ability to understand other people’s emotions in speech is key to successful social interaction. Studies from various disciplines suggest that prosody is a key element to this success. Starting from the premise that emotion is mainly a reaction or response to a previous stimulus, we have analysed whether it is possible to establish a relationship between the statement that provokes the emotional reaction (trigger) and the emotional response itself by observing the behaviour of the acoustic magnitudes (F0, dB and VEL), within the framework of colloquial speech. To this end, we have carried out two types of analysis: a) the syntagmatic reaction, understood as the reaction to the above (either to the intervention of a previous speaker or to the non-emotional part of the intervention of the same speaker); and b) the paradigmatic reaction, that is, what happens to the previously mentioned acoustic parameters when compared with the average register of the speaker (F0, dB, VEL). The results of the acoustic-statistical analysis show that there are regularity and directionality evidences in the behaviour of the F0 in syntagmatic relationships. This regularity, however, cannot be extrapolated to the other two magnitudes, nor to the paradigmatic reactions.

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Why is it important?

This is an important contribution on the link between emotions and prosody. It provides relevant data on Spanish.


I am currently working on prosody and emotions in Speech.

Dr Xose A. Padilla
University of Alicante

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: La voz como reacción emocional, Spanish in Context, February 2022, John Benjamins,
DOI: 10.1075/sic.20029.pad.
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