Are pitch variation cues indispensable to distinguish vocal emotions?

Ting Wang, Yang Qian


Pitch variation (e.g., pitch movement and range) has been proved to be one of the most important cues in encoding and distinguishing emotions in speech. However, it has been found that pitch variation could be restricted due to the existence of lexical tones in Mandarin, resulting in the failure of distinguishing emotions through pitch variation cues. Based on this finding, we conducted both production and perception experiments to explore whether pitch variation cues were indispensable for listeners to identify emotions. Results of the production experiment demonstrated that there was no significant effect of Emotion on pitch variation cues in T1 group (all high level tone sequences) in Mandarin, suggesting that in some case, pitch variation may not be effective for encoding emotions. However, results of the perception experiment confirmed that the identification rates of emotions among five tone groups had no significant differences. Therefore, we posit that listeners may not always use pitch variation cues to identify emotions in speech. There might be a gap between the analyzed prosodic cues in the production experiment and the cues used by listeners.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-66

Cite as: Wang, T., Qian, Y. (2018) Are pitch variation cues indispensable to distinguish vocal emotions?. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 324-328, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-66.


@inproceedings{Wang2018,
  author={Ting Wang and Yang Qian},
  title={Are pitch variation cues indispensable to distinguish vocal emotions?},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={324--328},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-66},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-66}
}