Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

Recording and Analysis
of Emotional Speech

C. Kaernbach

Joint course
Department of Psychology C. Kaernbach
H. Pfitzinger
C. Mooshammer

A project of the Speech and Emotion network

This course is open for students of psychology and students of phonetics. It is a one-year course (two semesters). In psychology, the first semester is an elective course (GWM), and the second semester is part of the empirical laboratory class (Empiriepraktikum 2). In phonetics, the winter course is identical with the course "Projekt" (Modul I) (followed by Modul II in summer) intended for students of the 5th semester.

In this course we will first of all impart the fundamentals of emotion psychology and of speech production and recording. We will then devise an experimental setting that allows to record emotional speech. The range of emotions should cover the major basic emotions (Tomkins, Ekman). We will introduce the course participants in the techniques of speech recording. We will then proceed to record emotional speech. The course participants will be instructed how to analyze speech by means of digital speech processing. In the second semester, we will devise an experimental setting for the evaluation of emotional speech, by means of ratings of the listeners and of the recording of physiological measures of the listeners.

First ideas

Much of the experimental setup will be discussed with the participants of the course. Therefore, the following ideas are not meant to fix the details of the experiments. They are meant to give a first impression of how the experiments could be done. We are open to other setups that will be suggested by the participants.
  • Recording spontaneous versus pretended emotions: It would be very tempting to record true spontaneous emotions. It will, however, be very difficult to find the entire range of basic emotions displayed spontaneously in comparable settings. For better comparability it will be better to have actors play the emotions. We could offer drama students the possibility to be evaluated on their performance to convey emotions (see, e.g., Schule für Schauspiel Kiel). The evaluation would in addition to the clearness of the displayed emotions also comprise their authenticity. Finding clear and authentic emotional recordings might weaken the concerns one might have with acted emotions.
  • When recording the speech of actors, we are free to define the text that is read. We should choose a text that does not by itself ease the display of some emotions and cumber that of others. The text might in itself undergo an evaluation phase. We would choose the text that is the most undefined with regard to its emotional content, offering at the same time potential for emotional interpretations of all sorts. The text should be short enough to be learnt by heart. 
  • We could in addition to the soundtrack record a video of the performance. We could then compare the ratings and the physiological effects of the sound track, of the video without sound, and of the video with soundtrack.

Weblinks for Course

Powerpoint files of talks

General References

  • Brosch, T., Grandjean, D., Sander D., and Scherer, K. R. (in press). Behold the voice of wrath: Cross-modal modulation of visual attention by anger prosody
  • Burkhardt, Felix; Paeschke, Astrid; Rolfes, Miriam; Sendlmeier, Walter F.; Weiss, Benjamin (2005). A Database of German Emotional Speech. Proceedings of Interspeech, Lissabon, Portugal.
  • Davidson, R. J., Goldsmith, H. & Scherer, K. R. (Hrsg.) (2003). Handbook of the Affective Sciences. Oxford University Press: Oxford.
  • Hammerschmidt K, Jürgens U. (2007). Acoustical correlates of affective prosody. J Voice. 2007 Sep;21(5):531-40.
  • Izdebski, Krzysztof (2007). Emotions of the Human Voice I-III. Plural Publishing: San Diego, CA.
  • LeDoux, J. E. (1996). The Emotional Brain. New York, Simon and Schuster.
  • Massaro, Dominic W. (1998) Perceiving Talking Faces. From Speech Perception to a Behavioral Principle. A Bradford Book. MIT Press
  • Paeschke, Astrid (2003). Prosodische Analyse emotionaler Sprechweise. Reihe: Mündliche Kommunikation, Band 1, Logos Verlag Berlin
  • Scherer, Klaus R. (2003). Vocal Communication of Emotion: A Review of Research Paradigms. In: Speech Communication 40(1-3), 227-256.
  • Scherer, Klaus R.; Schorr, Angela; Johnstone, Tom (Hrsg.) (2001). Appraisal Processes in Emotion. Theory, Methods, Research. Oxford University Press: Oxford, New York.
  • Schröder, Marc (2003). Speech and Emotion Research: An Overview of Research Frameworks and a Dimensional Approach to Emotional Speech Synthesis. Dissertation, PHONUS 7, Research Report of the Institute of Phonetics, Saarland University.
  • Sendlmeier, Walter F.; Bartels, Astrid (2005) (Hrsg.). Stimmlicher Ausdruck in der Alltagskommunikation. Reihe: Mündliche Kommunikation, Band 4, Logos Verlag Berlin