Identification of children's gender and age by listeners

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Voice carries abundant information about the speaker. This acoustic information changes throughout life. Although the ability of identifying audible cues on a speaker's gender and age is considered an intuitive task, little is known about the ability to identify and decipher this perceptual information. Most studies in the field have examined the ability to identify adults' gender and age, thus the purpose of the present study was to evaluate listeners' ability to identify gender and age of children and adolescents. Methods: A total of 120 children in six age groups, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 years, were recorded while producing isolated vowels and fixed sentences. The recordings were evaluated by a group of 38 untrained naive listeners, who were asked to identify the speakers' gender and age. Results: Listeners were able to identify children's gender at an overall rate of 81.81%. This task was performed more successfully based on recordings of sentences (85.39%) than on isolated vowels (78.22%). Listeners were able to identify the children's age group at an overall rate of 37.16%. This task was also performed more successfully based on recordings of sentences (39.58%) than on isolated vowels (34.71%). Furthermore, when an error of ±1 age group was allowed, correct responses for age identification exceeded 80%. Conclusions: Listeners have the ability to identify children's gender and age, based on short audio recordings, even before puberty. The success rates in these perceptual tasks are dependent on the child's age and gender.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Voice
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2012

Keywords

  • Age
  • Children
  • Gender
  • Hebrew
  • Perception
  • Voice

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