Perception of Paralinguistic Traits in Synthesized Voices

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

Along with the rise of artificial intelligence and the internet-of-things, synthesized voices are now common in daily–life, providing us with guidance, assistance, and even companionship. From formant to concatenative synthesis, the synthesized voice continues to be defined by the same traits we prescribe to ourselves. When the recorded voice is synthesized, does our perception of its new machine embodiment change, and can we consider an alternative, more inclusive form? To begin evaluating the impact of aesthetic design, this study presents a first–step perception test to explore the paralinguistic traits of the synthesized voice. Using a corpus of 13 synthesized voices, constructed from acoustic concatenative speech synthesis, we assessed the response of 23 listeners from differing cultural backgrounds. Evaluating if the perception shifts from the known ground–truths, we asked listeners to assigned traits of age, gender, accent origin, and human–likeness. Results present a difference in perception for age and human–likeness across voices, and a general agreement across listeners for both gender and accent origin. Connections found between age, gender and human–likeness call for further exploration into a more participatory and inclusive synthesized vocal identity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 12th International Audio Mostly Conference : Augmented and Participatory Sound and Music Experiences : AM '17
Number of pages5
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2017
Article number17
ISBN (Electronic)9781450353731
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventAudio Mostly: Augmented and Participatory Sound/Music Experiences - Queen Mary University of London , London, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Aug 201726 Aug 2017


ConferenceAudio Mostly
LocationQueen Mary University of London
LandUnited Kingdom

ID: 195758688