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Proc IEEE Inst Electr Electron Eng. 2013 Feb 7;101(5):1203-1233.

Behavioral Signal Processing: Deriving Human Behavioral Informatics From Speech and Language: Computational techniques are presented to analyze and model expressed and perceived human behavior-variedly characterized as typical, atypical, distressed, and disordered-from speech and language cues and their applications in health, commerce, education, and beyond.

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The authors are with the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089 USA.


The expression and experience of human behavior are complex and multimodal and characterized by individual and contextual heterogeneity and variability. Speech and spoken language communication cues offer an important means for measuring and modeling human behavior. Observational research and practice across a variety of domains from commerce to healthcare rely on speech- and language-based informatics for crucial assessment and diagnostic information and for planning and tracking response to an intervention. In this paper, we describe some of the opportunities as well as emerging methodologies and applications of human behavioral signal processing (BSP) technology and algorithms for quantitatively understanding and modeling typical, atypical, and distressed human behavior with a specific focus on speech- and language-based communicative, affective, and social behavior. We describe the three important BSP components of acquiring behavioral data in an ecologically valid manner across laboratory to real-world settings, extracting and analyzing behavioral cues from measured data, and developing models offering predictive and decision-making support. We highlight both the foundational speech and language processing building blocks as well as the novel processing and modeling opportunities. Using examples drawn from specific real-world applications ranging from literacy assessment and autism diagnostics to psychotherapy for addiction and marital well being, we illustrate behavioral informatics applications of these signal processing techniques that contribute to quantifying higher level, often subjectively described, human behavior in a domain-sensitive fashion.


Affective computing; behavior; computational psychology; computational social sciences; emotions; health applications; multimodal signal processing; natural language processing; speech understanding

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