Can you hear my age?: Influences of speech rate and speech spontaneity on estimation of speaker age
2015 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 6, 978Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Cognitive hearing science is mainly about the study of how cognitive factors contribute to speech comprehension, but cognitive factors also partake in speech processing to infer non-linguistic information from speech signals, such as the intentions of the talker and the speaker’s age. Here, we report two experiments on age estimation by “naïve” listeners. The aim was to study how speech rate influences estimation of speaker age by comparing the speakers’ natural speech rate with increased or decreased speech rate. In Experiment 1, listeners were presented with audio samples of read speech from three different speaker age groups (young, middle aged, and old adults). They estimated the speakers as younger when speech rate was faster than normal and as older when speech rate was slower than normal. This speech rate effect was slightly greater in magnitude for older (60–65 years) speakers in comparison with younger (20–25 years) speakers, suggesting that speech rate may gain greater importance as a perceptual age cue with increased speaker age. This pattern was more pronounced in Experiment 2, in which listeners estimated age from spontaneous speech. Faster speech rate was associated with lower age estimates, but only for older and middle aged (40–45 years) speakers. Taken together, speakers of all age groups were estimated as older when speech rate decreased, except for the youngest speakers in Experiment 2. The absence of a linear speech rate effect in estimates of younger speakers, for spontaneous speech, implies that listeners use different age estimation strategies or cues (possibly vocabulary) depending on the age of the speaker and the spontaneity of the speech. Potential implications for forensic investigations and other applied domains are discussed.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 6, 978
age estimation, speech perception, speech rate, cognitive speech processing, speech spontaneity
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-19836DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00978ISI: 000358224100001PubMedID: 26236259OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-19836DiVA: diva2:825020