Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stop shouting at me: Why clear speech can sound angry

Date:
May 6, 2014
Source:
Acoustical Society of America (ASA)
Summary:
When loved ones lose their hearing, audiologists often counsel spouses and family members to speak clearly so they are better understood. But hearing loss professionals say that this well-meaning advice can backfire: clear speech can make you sound angry. A new study supports the idea that clear speech can carry negative overtones even when the phrase itself is emotionally neutral.

When loved ones lose their hearing, audiologists often counsel spouses and family members to speak clearly so they are better understood. But hearing loss professionals such as Shae D. Morgan, a PhD student at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, say that this well-meaning advice can backfire: clear speech can make you sound angry.

"We often hear communication partners of individuals with hearing loss say that it seems that when they try to speak clearly, their partners think they are shouting at them," Morgan said.

Now a new study supports the idea that clear speech can indeed carry negative overtones even when the phrase itself is emotionally neutral. Morgan will present his team's results at the 167th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) in Providence, RI.

In the new experiment, 18 young adults with normal hearing listened to a set of conversational and clear sentences from the Ferguson Clear Speech Database. This database includes phrases spoken by volunteers under instructions to read sentences in two different styles: first as though they were having a normal conversation (their "conversational speech" style), and a second time as though they were talking to a person with hearing loss (their "clear speech" style). Each sentence included in this study was emotionally neutral, such as in "he picked up the bid and put it away" and "use the word 'bod' in a sentence."

The University of Utah team selected sentences from each speaking style as read by speakers who had previously been classified as having either a big difference between their two speaking styles (i.e., their clear speech was perceived as very distinct from their natural conversational speech) or a small difference (i.e., there was almost no perceived distinction between their clear and conversational speech). The 18 listeners were then asked to assign an emotion category to each sentence: anger, sadness, happiness, fear, disgust, or neutral (meaning no intended emotion).

Listeners thought the clear versions of the sentences from the database sounded angry more often and happy less often than the more natural conversational versions. Furthermore, the group of speakers who had the largest perceived distinctions between clear and conversational speech were judged to be more angry and less happy than those with smaller differences between the two styles. This suggests, Morgan said, that as a speaker begins to sound more clear, they also sound more angry and less happy.

Further work is needed to give scientists a better picture of the exact nature of the different relationships between speaking style and perceived emotion, Morgan said. However, he added that he feels that this study is a good start in helping to make audiologists aware of this potential problem.

"When we invite people to change how they speak to achieve some goal, like increased accuracy in speech understanding, we need to consider how those changes affect other perceived aspects of speech, like the emotional state of the speaker," Morgan said. "We could potentially begin searching for better ways to counsel patients and their communication partners to increase understanding without appearing angry or otherwise upset.

For example, future research may identify the acoustic differences between sentences that the listeners labeled "neutral" and those they labeled "angry." This work might be used to teach people how to speak clearly without conveying negative emotion.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Acoustical Society of America (ASA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Acoustical Society of America (ASA). "Stop shouting at me: Why clear speech can sound angry." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140506094441.htm>.
Acoustical Society of America (ASA). (2014, May 6). Stop shouting at me: Why clear speech can sound angry. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140506094441.htm
Acoustical Society of America (ASA). "Stop shouting at me: Why clear speech can sound angry." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140506094441.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins