Ninth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Pittsburgh, PA, USA
September 17-21, 2006

The Importance of Different Facial Areas for Signalling Visual Prominence

Marc Swerts, Emiel Krahmer

Tilburg University, The Netherlands

This article discusses the processing of facial markers of prominence in spoken utterances. In particular, it investigates which area of a speakerís face contains the strongest cues to prominence, using stimuli with the entire face visible or versions in which participants could only see the upper or lower half, or the right or left part of the face. To compensate for potential ceiling effects, subjects were positioned at a distance of either 50cm, 250cm or 380cm from the screen which displayed the film fragments. The task of the subjects was to indicate for each stimulus which word they perceived as the most prominent one. Results show that, while prominence detection becomes more difficult at longer distances, the upper facial area has stronger cue value for prominence detection than the bottom part, and that the left part of the face is more important than the right part. Results of mirror-images of the original fragments show that this latter result is due both to a speaker and an observer effect.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Swerts, Marc / Krahmer, Emiel (2006): "The importance of different facial areas for signalling visual prominence", In INTERSPEECH-2006, paper 1289-Tue3WeO.3.