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Perception of Paralinguistic Traits in Synthesized Voices

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Alice Emily Baird, Stina Hasse Jørgensen, Emilia Parada-Cabaleiro, Simone Hantke, Nicholas Cummins, Bjorn Schuller

Along with the rise of artificial intelligence and the internet-of-things, synthesized voices are now common in daily–life, providing us with guidance, assistance, and even companionship. From formant to concatenative synthesis, the synthesized voice continues to be defined by the same traits we prescribe to ourselves. When the recorded voice is synthesized, does our perception of its new machine embodiment change, and can we consider an alternative, more inclusive form? To begin evaluating the impact of aesthetic design, this study presents a first–step perception test to explore the paralinguistic traits of the synthesized voice. Using a corpus of 13 synthesized voices, constructed from acoustic concatenative speech synthesis, we assessed the response of 23 listeners from differing cultural backgrounds. Evaluating if the perception shifts from the known ground–truths, we asked listeners to assigned traits of age, gender, accent origin, and human–likeness. Results present a difference in perception for age and human–likeness across voices, and a general agreement across listeners for both gender and accent origin. Connections found between age, gender and human–likeness call for further exploration into a more participatory and inclusive synthesized vocal identity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date25 Aug 2017
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 25 Aug 2017
EventAudio Mostly - Queen Mary University of London , London, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Aug 201726 Aug 2017


ConferenceAudio Mostly
LocationQueen Mary University of London
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

ID: 178735315