chapter  8
10 Pages

Acoustic aspects of emotion talk

The abilities to perceive and express emotion are together considered to be the most basic component of emotional intelligence. Although basic, this aspect of EI is nonetheless extremely complex, and includes the ability to register, attend to and decipher emotional messages. Discussions concerning basic components of EI are mostly focused on speech-based communication; nevertheless the topic can be addressed as a more general problem, in that vocal EI components include both the use of acoustics to in¯uence others and the production of functional responses to such sounds. According to the `affect-induction framework' of Bachorowski and Owren (2002), sound in¯uences inherently a listener's emotional system. A hearer listening to a sound will appraise the signi®cance of that sound. This appraisal of the meaning of the sound plays an important mediating role. Evaluating a sound to indicate happiness, for example, will help the individual to respond appropriately to the message conveyed through sound. According to the affect-induction framework, sound is a means by which a signaller can modulate the behaviour of a listener. Through sound, a person can in¯uence attention, arousal and the emotional states of a listener. This implies that although vocal signals do not carry symbolic information in the same way as words, they still in¯uence the listener in the way he or she interprets the sound. Speci®cally, the effect of the emotional message carried in the nonverbal channel is based on a combination of an impact on the

has on the message. A speaker of an emotional message in¯uences a listener directly, by the effect of the acoustic emotional expression as well as indirectly, by learned emotional responses resulting from previous pairings of an individual's sounds with subsequent affect-inducing events.