The Effects of Emotion of Voice in Synthesized and Recorded Speech

Clifford Nass, Ulla Foehr, Scott Brave, and Michael Somoza

This study examines whether emotion conveyed in recorded and synthesized voices affects perceptions of emotional valence of content, suitability of content, liking of content, and credibility of content. The research also compares recorded and synthesized speech. Participants heard two news stories, two movie descriptions and two health stories in a 2 (type of speech: recorded vs. synthesized) by 2 (consistency of voice emotion and content emotion: matched vs. mismatched) balanced, between-participants experiment. A happy voice, whether synthesized or recorded, made content seem happier and more suitable for extroverts, and a sad (synthesized or recorded) voice made content seem less happy and less interesting for extroverts. Further, participants reported liking content more when voice emotion and content emotion were matched, but rated information as more credible when voice emotion and content emotion were mismatched. Implications for design are discussed.

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