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J Acoust Soc Am. 2010 Sep;128(3):1322-36. doi: 10.1121/1.3466853.

Beyond arousal: valence and potency/control cues in the vocal expression of emotion.

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  • 1Faculty of Humanities, Tilburg University, PO Box 90153, NL-5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands.


The important role of arousal in determining vocal parameters in the expression of emotion is well established. There is less evidence for the contribution of emotion dimensions such as valence and potency/control to vocal emotion expression. Here, an acoustic analysis of the newly developed Geneva Multimodal Emotional Portrayals corpus, is presented to examine the role of dimensions other than arousal. This corpus contains twelve emotions that systematically vary with respect to valence, arousal, and potency/control. The emotions were portrayed by professional actors coached by a stage director. The extracted acoustic parameters were first compared with those obtained from a similar corpus [Banse and Scherer (1996). J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 70, 614-636] and shown to largely replicate the earlier findings. Based on a principal component analysis, seven composite scores were calculated and were used to determine the relative contribution of the respective vocal parameters to the emotional dimensions arousal, valence, and potency/control. The results show that although arousal dominates for many vocal parameters, it is possible to identify parameters, in particular spectral balance and spectral noise, that are specifically related to valence and potency/control.

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