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J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 Jan;133(1):EL54-60. doi: 10.1121/1.4773223.

Reliability of human-supervised formant-trajectory measurement for forensic voice comparison.

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  • 1Department of Forensic Science & Technology, China Criminal Police University, 83 Tawan Street, Huanggu District, Shenyang Liaoning 110854, China. cuiling-zhang@forensic-voice-comparison.net


Acoustic-phonetic approaches to forensic voice comparison often include human-supervised measurement of vowel formants, but the reliability of such measurements is a matter of concern. This study assesses the within- and between-supervisor variability of three sets of formant-trajectory measurements made by each of four human supervisors. It also assesses the validity and reliability of forensic-voice-comparison systems based on these measurements. Each supervisor's formant-trajectory system was fused with a baseline mel-frequency cepstral-coefficient system, and performance was assessed relative to the baseline system. Substantial improvements in validity were found for all supervisors' systems, but some supervisors' systems were more reliable than others.

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