On the role of pitch in perception of emotional speech

Noam Amir, Eitan Globerson

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Two experiments investigated the role of intonation in perception of basic emotions. In the first experiment, pitch contours of stimuli from a corpus containing portrayals of anger, joy, fear and sadness were manipulated with respect to range, mean and smoothness. In the second experiment, pitch contours of identical words portraying different emotions were exchanged. In each experiment, the emotional category and intensity of the original and manipulated stimuli were evaluated by two separate groups of 20 participants. Results of the first experiment show mainly that pitch mean and range should vary congruently to portray activation correctly, and demonstrate the interaction in varying these two parameters. Results of the second experiment show that a pitch contour conveying high activation is not sufficient in conveying the appropriate emotion, if the other paralinguistic cues are not also in accordance. A pitch contour indicating low activation, on the other hand, is apparently a more powerful cue and thus less reliant on other cues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-158
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the International Conference on Speech Prosody
StatePublished - 2014
Event7th International Conference on Speech Prosody, SP 2014 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 20 May 201423 May 2014


  • Emotion
  • Intonation
  • Perception
  • Speech


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