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Perceptual evaluation of audio-visual cues to prominence

By Emiel Krahmer, Zsófia Ruttkay, Marc Swerts and Wieger Wesselink


This paper reports on two experiments with a Talking Head that explore the ability of eyebrow movements to cue focus. The first experiment tests how listeners react to synthetic stimuli in which the eyebrow movements coincide with pitch accents versus those in which these two occur on different words. Results show that subjects prefer those utterances in which pitch and eyebrow movements are aligned on the same word. The second experiment investigates whether listeners are sensitive to eyebrow movements when they have to rate the prominence of particular words in audiovisual stimuli. This experiment shows that eyebrow movements both boost the perceived prominence of words that also receive a pitch accent, and downscale the prominence of unaccented words in the immediate context of the accented word. 1

Year: 2002
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