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TitleWhat is the melody of that voice?: probing unbiased recognition accuracy with the montreal affective voices
Author(s)Vasconcelos, Margarida Fátima Gomes
Dias, Marcelo Francisco Vieira
Soares, Ana Paula
Pinheiro, Ana P.
KeywordsNon-verbal vocalizations
Unbiased accuracy
Issue dateApr-2017
PublisherSpringer Science+Business Media
JournalJournal of Nonverbal Behavior
CitationVasconcelos, M., Dias, M., Soares, A. P., & Pinheiro, A. P. (2017). What is the melody of that voice? Probing unbiased recognition accuracy with the Montreal Affective Voices. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 41(3), 239-267. DOI: 10.1007/s10919-017-0253-4
Abstract(s)The present study aimed to clarify how listeners decode emotions from human nonverbal vocalizations, exploring unbiased recognition accuracy of vocal emotions selected from the Montreal Affective Voices (MAV) (Belin et al. in Trends Cognit Sci 8:129–135, 2008. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2004.01.008). The MAV battery includes 90 nonverbal vocalizations expressing anger, disgust, fear, pain, sadness, surprise, happiness, sensual pleasure, as well as neutral expressions, uttered by female and male actors. Using a forcedchoice recognition task, 156 native speakers of Portuguese were asked to identify the emotion category underlying each MAV sound, and additionally to rate the valence, arousal and dominance of these sounds. The analysis focused on unbiased hit rates (Hu Score; Wagner in J Nonverbal Behav 17(1):3–28, 1993. doi:10.1007/BF00987006), as well as on the dimensional ratings for each discrete emotion. Further, we examined the relationship between categorical and dimensional ratings, as well as the effects of speaker’s and listener’s sex on these two types of assessment. Surprise vocalizations were associated with the poorest accuracy, whereas happy vocalizations were the most accurately recognized, contrary to previous studies. Happiness was associated with the highest valence and dominance ratings, whereas fear elicited the highest arousal ratings. Recognition accuracy and dimensional ratings of vocal expressions were dependent both on speaker’s sex and listener’s sex. Further, discrete vocal emotions were not consistently predicted by dimensional ratings. Using a large sample size, the present study provides, for the first time, unbiased recognition accuracy rates for a widely used battery of nonverbal vocalizations. The results demonstrated a dynamic interplay between listener’s and speaker’s variables (e.g., sex) in the recognition of emotion from nonverbal vocalizations. Further, they support the use of both categorical and dimensional accounts of emotion when probing how emotional meaning is decoded from nonverbal vocal cues.
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