Listeners and Lookers: Using Pitch Height and Gaze Duration for Inferring Mental States

Juliane T. Zimmermann, Simon Wehrle, Francesco Cangemi, Martine Grice, Kai Vogeley


Pitch height and gaze duration are used to infer other people’s mental states, e.g. their attentional focus, attitudes or emotions. To shed light on the interplay of these two cues we varied pitch height in German utterances and gaze duration in a paradigm in-cluding a virtual character and different objects. At a group lev-el, greater pitch height and longer gaze duration on a given ob-ject similarly increased participants’ ratings of the perceived im-portance of that object to the virtual character. At the individual level, most participants showed a tendency to be influenced predominantly by only one of the two channels (pitch or gaze). The data suggest a high interindividual variability in the employment of the different, potentially competing nonverbal cues used in estimating the thoughts and judgment of another person.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-59

Cite as: Zimmermann, J.T., Wehrle, S., Cangemi, F., Grice, M., Vogeley, K. (2020) Listeners and Lookers: Using Pitch Height and Gaze Duration for Inferring Mental States. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 290-294, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-59.


@inproceedings{Zimmermann2020,
  author={Juliane T. Zimmermann and Simon Wehrle and Francesco Cangemi and Martine Grice and Kai Vogeley},
  title={{Listeners and Lookers: Using Pitch Height and Gaze Duration for Inferring Mental States}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={290--294},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-59},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-59}
}