Voice Attractiveness: Studies on Sexy, Likable, and Charismatic Speakers

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Benjamin Weiss, Jürgen Trouvain, Melissa Barkat-Defradas, John J. Ohala
Springer Nature, Oct 10, 2020 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 330 pages
This book addresses various aspects of acoustic–phonetic analysis, including voice quality and fundamental frequency, and the effects of speech fluency and non-native accents, by examining read speech, public speech, and conversations. Voice is a sexually dimorphic trait that can convey important biological and social information about the speaker, and empirical findings suggest that voice characteristics and preferences play an important role in both intra- and intersexual selection, such as competition and mating, and social evaluation. Discussing evaluation criteria like physical attractiveness, pleasantness, likability, and even persuasiveness and charisma, the book bridges the gap between social and biological views on voice attractiveness. It presents conceptual, methodological and empirical work applying methods such as passive listening tests, psychoacoustic rating experiments, and crowd-sourced and interactive scenarios and highlights the diversity not only of the methods used when studying voice attractiveness, but also of the domains investigated, such as politicians’ speech, experimental speed dating, speech synthesis, vocal pathology, and voice preferences in human interactions as well as in human–computer and human–robot interactions. By doing so, it identifies widespread and complementary approaches and establishes common ground for further research.

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Concepts Methods and Data
2 Prosodic Aspects of the Attractive Voice
3 The Vocal Attractiveness of Charismatic Leaders
A Systematic Review
Part IIVoice
5 What Does It Mean for a Voice to Sound Normal?
6 The Role of Voice Evaluation in Voice Recall
7 Voice Sexual Selection and Reproductive Success
10 The Contribution of Amplitude Modulations in Speech to Perceived Charisma
11 Dress to Impress? On the Interaction of Attire with Prosody and Gender in the Perception of Speaker Charisma
12 Birds of a Feather Flock Together But Opposites Attract On the Interaction of F0 Entrainment Perceived Attractiveness and Conversational Quality...
Part IVDatabases
13 Acoustic Correlates of Likable Speakers in the NSC Database
14 Ranking and Comparing Speakers Based on Crowdsourced Pairwise Listener Ratings
Optimization and Estimation from Audio Signal
Part VTechnological Applications

8 On Voice Averaging and Attractiveness
Part IIIProsody
Effects of Pitch and Tempo
Implications for Robot Voice Design
17 Exploring Verbal Uncanny Valley Effects with Vague Language in Computer Speech

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About the author (2020)

Melissa Barkat-Defradas obtained her Ph.D. in Forensic Linguistics at the University of Lyon in 2000 and received the Young Researcher Award for her work in Automatic Language Identification. After a research fellowship at UC Berkeley, she joined the French National Centre for Scientific Research. She is now a full-time Researcher at The Institute of Evolutionary Sciences of Montpellier (France), where she actively contributes to developing interdisciplinary research by bridging the gap between experimental phonetics and evolutionary biology. She is particularly interested in the selective forces that may explain the emergence of articulated language in humans. Benjamin Weiss received his PhD in 2008 in phonetics from Humboldt-University Berlin. Since then he has extensively studied acoustic correlates of pleasant and likable voices, taking into account also speaking styles and conversational behavior in order to build quantitative models. He was visiting fellow at the University of Western Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney. In 2019, he completed his habilitation on human dialog and speech-based (multimodal) HCI. Since September 2020, he is Associate Professor at the School of Intelligence, Hanyang University, Seoul. Jürgen Trouvain received his Ph.D. in Phonetics in 2004 from Saarland University (Germany), where he works as a Senior Researcher and Lecturer at the Department of Language Science and Technology. His research fields include non-verbal vocalizations such as breathing and laughing, as well as non-native speech and phonetic learner corpora. He has acted as an organizer for several international conferences and workshops. John J. Ohala is an Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Research Scientist at the International Computer Science Institute, Berkeley. He has had a major impact on the field of speech communication. His research interests focus on experimental phonology and phonetics and ethological aspects of communication, including speech perception, sound change, phonetic and phonological universals, psycholinguistic studies in phonology, and sound symbolism. He proposed an innovative ethological hypothesis, which unifies — via ‘the frequency code’ — such diverse behavioral phenomena as the cross-language use of voice pitch for questions and statements, the systematic use of consonants, vowels, and tones in sound symbolical vocabulary, the ‘smile,’ and sexual dimorphism of the vocal anatomy in adult humans

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