Seminar Series

Flexible voices: Identity perception in the context of vocal variability

When talking, we dynamically change the sound of our voice to communicate our intentions and adapt to our audience or specific speaking situations. Due to this, the same person's voice can sound very different from one situation to the next (e.g. giving a talk vs singing vs talking to a friend). This vocal variability has implications for how successfully listeners can perceive information about a talker's identity from the voice: Research shows that vocal variability generally presents challenges to accurate identity perception. However, these challenges are particularly pronounced for identity judgements from unfamiliar voices and less so for familiar voices. In this talk, I will present experiments that examine 1) how vocal variability affects identity perception from familiar and unfamiliar voices, 2) how we become familiar with a voice in the context of variability and 3) how physical/acoustic properties of voice recordings inform familiar vs unfamiliar voice identity perception. I will finally explore how vocal variability and familiarity affect social trait judgements (e.g. trustworthiness and dominance).