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Contrastive pitch range distribution improves cognitive processing of audio messages

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Abstract

his study explores the effect of different speaker intonation strategies in audio messages on attention, autonomic arousal, and memory. An experiment was conducted in which participants listened to 16 radio commercials produced to vary in pitch range across sentences as an independent variable. Dependent variables were self-reported effectiveness and adequacy, psychophysiological arousal and attention, immediate word recall and recognition of information. Results showed that commercials conveyed with pitch variations achieved better scores compared to commercials with a homogenous pitch range across the sentences. This was especially the case when high pitch intonation was followed by low pitch within a sentence.

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... Yet, people are capable of perceiving and comprehending speech produced by different speakers through a process of speech normalization (Johnson, 2005), which filters speech to allow listeners access to a representation in the mental lexicon (see e.g., Krulee, Tondo, & Wightman 1983;Johnson, 2005;Johnson & Sjerps, 2021). Researchers continue to study the impact of additional factors such as speech rate (e.g., Rodero, 2019), gender (e.g., Rodero, Larrea, & Vázquez, 2013), pitch (e.g., Rodero, Potter, & Prieto, 2017), and accent/language variety (e.g., Birch & McPhail, 1997;Lalwani, Lwin, & Li, 2005) on cognitive processing in general, and cognitive processing of commercial advertising in particular. Cognitive processes are tied to an individual's capacity to store, comprehend, and recall information. ...
... Another factor that is related to the gender of a voice is pitch. Rodero et al. (2017) compared the number of correct words recalled across four intonation patterns and found that commercial messages with pitch variations, compared to those with a homogenous pitch, have a positive impact on recall and memory. A third factor that has been researched in detail as having an effect on a listener's memory of advertisements is speech rate. ...
... The stimuli used in the present study consisted of eight carefully selected auditory MSA and DA commercial advertisements. The number of advertisements is less than that used in previous studies such as Rodero et al. (2017) and Rodero (2019) which used 16 and 12, respectively. However, the number of advertisements per condition is the same as in these studies. ...
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Commercial advertisements in Arabic-speaking regions tend to alternate between dialectal Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic, but it is not yet clear whether language variety has any impact on listener's lexical recall. Insight into this issue should help enterprises design their commercial advertisements in a linguistically intelligent manner. This study addresses two questions: 1) How does language variety (dialectal vs. standard) affect listener's lexical recall in commercial advertisements? 2) Do listeners recall words that have appeared in dialectal advertisements better than those that did not appear in advertisements using the same variety? Fifteen Saudi participants responded to a forced-choice memory test with 24 yes-no questions (3 per advertisement) asking participants to report whether they heard a specific key word in eight advertisements that utilized different language varieties. The findings show that Arabic speakers tend to perceive both Modern Standard Arabic and dialectal Arabic in commercial advertisements similarly, but tend to recall the presence of a key word in an advertisement better than its absence. Future research may increase the sample size and examine more Arabic varieties.
... In this literature, heart rate is the only physiological response that seems to exhibit a 1-to-1 mapping with orienting responses, as EEG and SCL responses are also elicited by other processes (Cacioppo, Tassinary, & Berntson, 2000;Potter & Bolls, 2012). Specifically, an OR is indexed by heart rate when there is a distinct deceleration following a stimulus event (e.g. a voice change; Lang, Gao, et al., 2015;Potter, Jamison-Koenig, Lynch, & Sites, 2016;Rodero, 2015;Rodero, Potter, & Prieto, 2017) that then leads to an acceleration back to a homeostatic baseline (Barry, 1990). This deceleration and acceleration results in a U-shaped curve called the cardiac response curve (for a review of the cardiac response curve, see Thorson & Lang, 1992). ...
... Within the literature, cognitive resources have been shown to be elicited by camera cuts/edits (Lang et al., 2006;Lang, Kurita, et al., 2013;Lang, Park, et al., 2007), pitch changes or other structural features in audio (Lang, Gao, et al., 2015;Potter et al., 2008;Potter et al., 2016;Rodero, 2015;Rodero et al., 2017), motivationally relevant content (Clayton, Ridgway, & Hendrickse, 2017;Ordoñana, González-Javier, Espín-López, & Gómez-Amor, 2009;Potter & Keene, 2012;Potter, LaTour, Braun-LaTour, & Reichert, 2006;Rubenking & Lang, 2014;Wang, Solloway, et al., 2012), pop up banners in an online environment (Diao & Sundar, 2004;Lang, Borse, Wise, & David, 2002), content features in video games (Gangadharbatla, Bradley, & Wise, 2013), and computer controlled content presentation (Wise & Pepple, 2008;Wise & Reeves, 2007). These are often collectively referred to as orienting eliciting structural features (OESFs; Lang, 2009;. ...
... Completion of the encoding processes is typically indexed using forced-choice audiovisual recognition tasks or multiple choice questions related to message content (e.g. Keene & Lang, 2016;Langleben et al., 2009;Rodero et al., 2017;Yegiyan, 2015b). LC4MP research has shown that messages which elicit greater resource allocation are typically better encoded than those that elicit less resource allocation (e.g. ...
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In the 15 years since its inception, the Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing (LC4MP) has contributed to understanding regarding the dynamics of message processing in a variety of domains. In this manuscript we outline the foundations and assumptions of the LC4MP, discussing salient research from biology, cognitive psychology, and communication upon which the model is built. We then conduct a systematic review of the LC4MP literature with a focus on three primary domains: cognitive load, motivated processing, and memory. In a companion piece (Fisher, Huskey, Keene, & Weber, 2018) we look to the future of the model, incorporating recent findings from communication and cognate fields to inform an updated suite of predictions.
... Participants had to listen to the messages and rate them in an online survey using semantic differential scales of vocal effectiveness (how natural, pleasant, clear, persuasive, and dynamic the voice is) and adequacy (how credible, correct, appropriate and comprehensible the voice is). These 5-point scales have been used in other published studies of audio production strategies (Rodero et al., 2017) and were the same used for the main experiment. The pretest results confirmed the expected responses. ...
... The dependent variables used were divided into three parts, as in Rodero et al. (2017): (a) self-reported measures of effectiveness and adequacy; (b) psychophysiological measures of arousal via skin conductance level (SCL) and attention via heart rate (HR); and (c) cognitive tests to measure recognition accuracy and immediate recall. ...
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Most consumers do not like the speech style that announcers use in marketing messages. The main reason is an exaggerated way of speaking with a strong emphasis. Indeed, announcers tend to stress too many words in commercials, producing an overly emphatic speech style, which sounds choppy and stuttering. This study analyzes how different strategies of emphasizing words in commercials affect the listeners' cognitive processing. Four different strategies (no emphasis, moderate‐low, moderate‐high, and over‐emphasis) were applied to 16 commercials. Participants (N = 52) had their physiological response (heart rate and skin conductance) measured during ad presentation. Afterward they assessed the commercials' effectiveness and adequacy and performed an immediate recall and a recognition test. The results indicated that the commercials presenting a moderate emphasis (low and high) improved the listeners' cognitive processing compared to messages with no emphasis strategy and the standard industry practice of using over‐emphasis.
... The prosodic means actualize the segmental composition of the text and connect individual segments into integral semantic units. Besides, the prosody divides the speech flow into suprasegmental units, phrases, Phoneticians agree (Rodero, Potter & Prieto, 2017;Wichmann, 2000), that there is no constant composition of prosodic parameters even in one type of text. The combinations of different features of the fundamental frequency peak values and frequency interval, intensity, and duration of structural elements of the utterance, influenced by the lexical and grammatical structure of the analyzed text usually form its prosodic organization. ...
... The analyzed programs helped us to carry out the acoustic analysis of English TV advertisements. All cases of fundamental frequency measurement were grouped depending on maximum tonal realization into extra-high, high, medium-high, medium-low, low, extra-low levels (Crystal, 2010;Rodero, Potter & Prieto, 2017). The comparison of the zones mentioned above in TV advertisements intended for addressees with different social status (high, middle, low) proved an increased use of the extra-high zone. ...
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Research studies in a variety of linguistic areas indicate that scholars often refer to computer technologies that become popular as a tool to reinforce the findings and provide the validity of the experimental results. This paper discusses the use of computer technologies in the acoustic analysis of speech prosody focused on the English television advertising discourse. The article aims to determine what the main prosodic characteristics of English advertising discourse are, and how they contribute to the maximum influence on the television audience. Therefore, the study relies upon the acoustic analysis using sound processing software WaveLab, Cool Edit Pro, SpectraLAB, Wasp, Sound Forge to ensure the reliability and validity of the obtained results. Moreover, the computer programs used in this research allowed us to measure the pronunciation accuracy and present results based on many experimental data, not only on the assumptions. Besides, the linguistic interpretation of the data of the perceptual and acoustic analysis of the English television advertising discourse prosody proves a strong correlation of these data. The obtained results indicate that detailed analysis of the quantitative prosodic characteristics of speech enables to get a clear picture of the prosodic organization of the English television advertising discourse. The research proves that the prosody of the English advertising discourse closely correlates with its pragmatic potential and some sociolinguistic features, namely, the social status of the viewer, contribute to the maximum influence on the television audience.
... A melodic pitch range is recommendable in public speaking. 37 However, monotony is the main defect of nontrained professionals and the problem detected in the pretest. As these students of journalism ignore how to use pitch, voice education has to work to extend pitch range. ...
... Pitch range was expanded, what is recommendable according to some studies applied to radio. 37 Jitter was also reduced after training with significant differences. Nevertheless, according to the normal values, jitter should not exceed 1%. ...
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Voice education is a crucial aspect for professionals (journalists, teachers, politicians, actors, etc.) who use their voices as a working tool. The main concerns about such education are that, first, there is little awareness of the importance of voice education, and second there is little research devoted to it. The consequences of this lack of training are indeed visible in professionals who suffer voice pathologies or work with little effectiveness. This study seeks to overcome this deficiency by proposing a training model tested with a control group and a pilot study. Speech samples from a group of experimental participants—journalism students—were collected before and after a training course designed to improve their main vocal and prosodic features. These samples were contrasted with a control group without training. Results indicated significant differences in all tested voice elements (breathing, articulation, loudness, pitch, jitter, speech rate, pauses, and stress) except for shimmer and harmonics. The participants were able to enhance their main vocal and prosodic elements, and therefore their expressiveness maintaining optimal vocal hygiene.
... Concurrently, spontaneous speech is increasingly used in TTS [7,8]. Spontaneous speech data is challenging to model, due to disfluencies and large variability [9]; offers high ecological validity for evermore commonplace conversational AI systems; and the varied prosody offered by spontaneous data positively impacts factors such as word recall and attention [10]. For conversational systems it would also be useful to be able to synthesize creaky phonation, as this have been found to be a strong turn-yielding cue [11,12]. ...
Preprint
Spontaneous speech has many affective and pragmatic functions that are interesting and challenging to model in TTS (text-to-speech). However, the presence of reduced articulation, fillers, repetitions, and other disfluencies mean that text and acoustics are less well aligned than in read speech. This is problematic for attention-based TTS. We propose a TTS architecture that is particularly suited for rapidly learning to speak from irregular and small datasets while also reproducing the diversity of expressive phenomena present in spontaneous speech. Specifically, we modify an existing neural HMM-based TTS system, which is capable of stable, monotonic alignments for spontaneous speech, and add utterance-level prosody control, so that the system can represent the wide range of natural variability in a spontaneous speech corpus. We objectively evaluate control accuracy and perform a subjective listening test to compare to a system without prosody control. To exemplify the power of combining mid-level prosody control and ecologically valid data for reproducing intricate spontaneous speech phenomena, we evaluate the system's capability of synthesizing two types of creaky phonation. Audio samples are available at https://hfkml.github.io/pc_nhmm_tts/
... response, is a brief boost of attention immediately following the introduction of relevant or novel stimuli that typically elicits a deceleration in heart rate. Decades of research within the LC4MP framework have demonstrated that structural aspects of media can elicit attention in the form of ORs, including structural aspects as varied as pacing (Lang et al., 2000), pitch range voice variations and prosody (Rodero & Potter, 2017;Rodero & Cores-Sarría, 2022), onset of web pages with product information (Wise et al., 2013), or television infographics (Pjesivac et al., 2021). ...
Thesis
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... Higher pitch has been associated with better infant-adult connection both in individual variation (e.g., a comparison of depressed and nondepressed mothers; Porritt et al., 2014) and in experimental settings (i.e., when the mother is shown a supposedly live video of her infant, but the infant can versus cannot actually hear the mother; Smith & Trainor, 2008). Furthermore, studies show that speech conveying pitch variations (larger ranges of speaker intonations) also results in higher levels of attention, more word recall, and more recognition of information by the listener than those with homogenous pitch ranges across sentences (Rodero et al., 2017). Parentese speech, or speech characterized by higher pitch, slower tempo, and exaggerated intonation ranges, has been positively associated with early spoken word recognition and better acquisition of language by infants and has been shown to be preferred by children relative to standard speech (Liu et al., 2009;Singh et al., 2009;Ramírez-Esparza et al., 2017). ...
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We assess the effects of the Crianza Positiva text and audio e-messaging program on caregiver–child language interaction patterns. The program is a six-month-long intervention for families with children aged 0–2 aimed at strengthening parental competences. Its design exploits behavioral tools such as reminders, suggestions of action, and messages of encouragement to reinforce and sustain positive parenting practices. Families in 24 early childhood centers in Uruguay that completed an eight-week workshop were randomized into receiving or not receiving mobile messages. After the program, we videotaped 10-minute sessions of free play between the caregiver and the child, and decoded language patterns using automated techniques. The intervention was successful at improving the quality of parental vocalizations, as measured by the parent's pitch range. We also found suggestive evidence of increases in the duration of adult vocalizations. The results are consistent with more frequent parental self-reported involvement in reading, telling stories, and describing things to the child. Regarding the child, we find a nonrobust decrease in the duration of vocalizations, which we attribute to a crowding-out effect by the caregiver in the context of a fixed 10-minute suggested activity and a more proactive parental role.
... Los seres humanos utilizamos las combinaciones melódicas de la voz a través de la entonación, la acentuación y los cambios de velocidad y las pausas para dotar de sentido a nuestras palabras. Por tanto, la prosodia incrementa la atención y mejora la comprensión del oyente (Rodero, Potter y Prieto, 2017). De hecho, según el neurocientífico Ramachandran 5 , la prosodia está unida a las partes emocionales del cerebro y, por esta razón, cuando escuchamos una voz tenemos la sensación de estar en compañía. ...
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... Humans use melodic voice combinations through intonation, accentuation and changes of speed and pauses to give sense to our words. Therefore, prosody heightens the listener's attention and enhances their understanding (Rodero, Potter and Prieto, 2017). Indeed, according to the neuroscientist Ramachandran, 5 prosody is linked to the emotional parts of the brain and therefore, when we hear a voice, we have the sensation of being accompanied. ...
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Chapter
IntroductionIntonation: Its Parts and RepresentationsIntonation in the Interpretation of Syntactic PhenomenaIntonation in the Interpretation of Semantic PhenomenaIntonation in the Interpretation of Discourse PhenomenaIntonational Meaning: Future Research Areas
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The effects of pitch accenting on memory were investigated in three experiments. Participants listened to short recorded discourses that contained contrast sets with two items (e.g. British scientists and French scientists); a continuation specified one item from the set. Pitch accenting on the critical word in the continuation was manipulated between non-contrastive (H* in the ToBI system) and contrastive (L+H*). On subsequent recognition memory tests, the L+H* accent increased hits to correct statements and correct rejections of the contrast item (Experiments 1-3), but did not impair memory for other parts of the discourse (Experiment 2). L+H* also did not facilitate correct rejections of lures not in the contrast set (Experiment 3), indicating that contrastive accents do not simply strengthen the representation of the target item. These results suggest comprehenders use pitch accenting to encode and update information about multiple elements in a contrast set.
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Knowledge of differences in voice and speech characteristics between novice and professional broadcasters is essential for effective education of broadcast journalism students. Because newsreaders rely on optimal voice production, information pertaining to vocal hygiene is also important. The first aim of this study was to compare the voice and speech characteristics of professional newsreaders, student newsreaders and control participants. The second aim was to compare the awareness and use of vocal hygiene across these groups. Professional radio newsreaders, broadcast journalism students and two matched control groups were included in the study. Each participant recorded a news bulletin and completed a questionnaire on vocal hygiene. Data analysis of the recording included objective analysis and perceptual ratings by a panel of three judges. Significant student-professional differences were found. Compared to both the students and the control groups, the professional newsreaders had greater variation in speaking fundamental frequency, a faster rate of speech, fewer pronunciation errors and higher perceptual ratings on vocal quality, emphasis, continuity, phrasing and style of newsreading. Female professional newsreaders had a higher speaking fundamental frequency than both their control participants and the student newsreaders. Comparison of vocal hygiene awareness revealed few significant differences between any of the groups.
Article
The role of intonation in conveying discourse relationships in auditory sentence comprehension was investigated in two experiments. Using the simple comprehension time paradigm, Experiment 1 found that sentences with accented new information were understood faster than sentences with a neutral intonation contour and that the presence of accent in context sentences facilitated comprehension of subsequent targets. Both experiments showed faster comprehension times in conditions in which accent placement was appropriate for the information structure of the sentence. In Experiment I, comprehension times were faster when the accent fell on the information focus than when it fell elsewhere in the sentence. In Experiment 2, faster times resulted when new information was accented and given information was not, compared to conditions in which this accent pattern was reversed. This effect held for both active and passive sentences, and whether the new information occurred in the subject or object position.
Article
The word "Anna" was spoken by 12 female and 11 male subjects with six different emotional expressions: "rage/hot anger," "despair/lamentation," "contempt/disgust," "joyful surprise," "voluptuous enjoyment/sensual satisfaction," and "affection/tenderness." In an acoustical analysis, 94 parameters were extracted from the speech samples and broken down by correlation analysis to 15 parameters entering subsequent statistical tests. The results show that each emotion can be characterized by a specific acoustic profile, differentiating that emotion significantly from all others. If aversive emotions are tested against hedonistic emotions as a group, it turns out that the best indicator of aversiveness is the ratio of peak frequency (frequency with the highest amplitude) to fundamental frequency, followed by the peak frequency, the percentage of time segments with nonharmonic structure ("noise"), frequency range within single time segments, and time of the maximum of the peak frequency within the utterance. Only the last parameter, however, codes aversiveness independent of the loudness of an utterance.
Quaderns de filologia: estudis de comunicación
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De-la-Mota, C., & Rodero, E. (2011). La entonación en la información radiofónica [Intonation in radio news]. Quaderns de filologia: estudis de comunicación, 45, 159 -176, Valencia, Spain: Universitat de València.
Intonational structuring of discourse
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Stephenson, A., Reese, D., & Beadle, M. (2013). Broadcast Announcing Worktext. Burlington, MA: Taylor & Francis.
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Rodero, E., Larrea, O., & Vázquez, M. (2013). Male and female voices in commercials.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This research was supported by a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme (FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IOF, 328636). Thanks to the Institute for Communication
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Wells, J.C. (2007). English intonation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This research was supported by a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme (FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IOF, 328636). Thanks to the Institute for Communication Research in The Media School at Indiana University where this research was conducted.