158 research outputs found

    Prosodic Predictors of Upcoming Positive or Negative Content in Spoken Messages

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    This article examines potential prosodic predictors of emotional speech in utterances perceived as conveying that good or bad news is about to be delivered. Speakers were asked to call an experimental confederate to inform her about whether or not she had been given a job she had applied for. A perception study was then performed in which initial fragments of the recorded utterances, not containing any explicit lexical cues to emotional content, were presented to listeners who had to rate whether good or bad news would follow the utterance. The utterances were then examined to discover acoustic and prosodic features that distinguished between good and bad news. It was found that speakers in the production study were not simply reflecting their own positive or negative mood during the experiment, but rather appeared to be influenced by the valence of the positive or negative message they were preparing to deliver. Positive and negative utterances appeared to be judged differently with respect to a number of perceived attributes of the speakers’ voices (like sounding hesitant or nervous). These attributes correlated with a number of automatically obtained acoustic features

    Zooming on the spectrum:Exploring the relationship between Zoom-fatigue, autistic traits and sensory sensitivity

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    Background: Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of video conferencing (VC) has become an integral part of everyday life. Its implementations range from staying in touch with loved-ones, to work-related meetings, remote learning, and e-health services. While VC appears a convenient alternative to meeting face-to-face for many, it may be challenging for others. VC is known to induce symptoms of mental and physical exhaustion. One potential factor that may contribute to these symptoms, collectively known as Zoom-fatigue, is that compared to face-to-face meetings, VC requires increased cognitive and sensory demands, which in turn may lead to sensory overload. The extent to which Zoom fatigue is experienced varies from person to person, but individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in particular may be more susceptible to Zoom fatigue. The socio-communicative symptoms associated with ASD include atypical eye gaze patterns, ineffective use of nonverbal cues, and alterations in sensory processing, including hyper- and hyposensitivity to sensory stimulation. All of these symptoms may pose as potential risk factors for zoom-fatigue.Objectives: This study aimed to examine the relationship between symptoms of Zoom-fatigue, autistic traits and sensory sensitivity.Methods: A large online survey was conducted among older adolescents and young adults with typical development and individuals in the same age range with a clinical diagnosis of ASD. Zoom fatigue was measured using the recently developed Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue (ZEF) scale. Autistic traits were measured using the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ), and sensory sensitivity was measured using the Glasgow Sensory Questionnaire (GSQ). Bivariate and partial correlation coefficients were calculated to determine the relationships between these outcome measures.Results: Data collection is ongoing and will be completed by February 2023. Preliminary data from 225 participants (184 females, 35 males, 6 non-binary, mean age: 19.45, range: 17-30 years) showed that increased autistic symptomatology was associated with increased symptoms of Zoom fatigue (r = .41, p < .001). This relationship remained significant after controlling for sensory sensitivity (r = .15, p = .03). These preliminary results suggest that, in addition to increased sensory demands, individuals with ASD may face unique challenges in the use of VC. Future analyses and results from the final sample will be presented at the conference, and will examine whether and how sensory sensitivity may act as a potential mediator between autistic traits and zoom fatigue.Conclusions: Given that VC is now an intricate part of our society and is becoming increasingly more common in education and mental health services, it is important to examine how this increased digitalization of society affects the psychological well-being of neurodiverse populations such as individuals with ASD. Our preliminary results suggest that individuals with ASD may be more susceptible to symptoms of mental and physical exhaustion induced by VC. While more research is needed to examine the underlying mechanisms of this relationship, these findings may help increase awareness of neurodiversity in the field of computer-mediated communication, and may provide an impetus for the development of neurodiversity-sensitive solutions that make computer-mediated communication more accessible and inclusive

    Children’s nonverbal displays of winning and losing:Effects of social and cultural contexts on smiles

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    We examined the effects of social and cultural contexts on smiles displayed by children during gameplay. Eight-year-old Dutch and Chinese children either played a game alone or teamed up to play in pairs. Activation and intensity of facial muscles corresponding to Action Unit (AU) 6 and AU 12 were coded according to Facial Action Coding System. Co-occurrence of activation of AU 6 and AU 12, suggesting the presence of a Duchenne smile, was more frequent among children who teamed up than among children who played alone. Analyses of the intensity of smiles revealed an interaction between social and cultural contexts. Whereas smiles, both Duchenne and non-Duchenne, displayed by Chinese children who teamed up were more intense than those displayed by Chinese children who played alone, the effect of sociality on smile intensity was not observed for Dutch children. These findings suggest that the production of smiles by children in a competitive context is susceptible to both social and cultural factors

    Variation in Tone and Gesture within Language

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    The present research focuses on the relation between tone and gesture across varieties of the same language, European Portuguese (EP). Three questions are addressed: (i) whether EP varieties use different visual cues while producing different sentence types/pragmatic meanings, (ii) if there is a relation between intonational variation and variability (if any) of visual cues, and (iii) if each linguistic factor involved can predict the type of visual cues used. Two sentence types (statements/yes-no questions) and pragmatic meanings (broad/narrow focus) were examined in four varieties of EP. Results show that visual cues, like intonation, may vary across varieties and sentence types/pragmatic meanings. Furthermore, sentence type and pragmatic meaning are good predictors of how visual cues are time-aligned with intonation, in contrast with language variety. Consequently, we hypothesize that visual cues might play an important role in discriminating sentence types/pragmatic meanings, especially in the absence of tonal contrasts

    Audiovisual Correlates of Interrogativity: A Comparative Analysis of Catalan and Dutch

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    Abstract Languages employ different strategies to mark an utterance as a polar (yes-no) question, including syntax, intonation and gestures. This study analyzes the production and perception of information-seeking questions and broad focus statements in Dutch and Catalan. These languages use intonation for marking questionhood, but Dutch also exploits syntactic variation for this purpose. A production task revealed the expected languagespecific auditory differences, but also showed that gaze and eyebrow-raising are used in this distinction. A follow-up perception experiment revealed that perceivers relied greatly on auditory information in determining whether an utterance is a question or a statement, but accuracy was further enhanced when visual information was added. Finally, the study demonstrates that the concentration of several response-mobilizing cues in a sentence is positively correlated with the perceivers' ratings of these utterances as interrogatives
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