Presentation by Dr. Bill Thompson
Emotional Communication in the Human Voice
Abstract: When we speak or sing, our voices often carry emotional information that is readily perceived by listeners. Emotional information is carried by several acoustic attributes in the voice (e.g., pitch, loudness, pace) and reinforced in facial expressions. In this talk, I will describe recent research on emotional communication in the human voice. The work includes descriptions of the vocal qualities used by singers and speakers to express different emotions, examination of facial expressions that are used during vocal emotional communication, and investigations of sensitivity to emotional speech among individuals with musical impairments (amusia).
Bio: William Forde Thompson is Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology, Macquarie University. He is an honorary member of the Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science and one of the Chief Investigators for the “Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders” which recently received $21 million dollars in funding by the Australian Research Council. His 2009 book Music, Thought and Feeling (Oxford University Press) is a leading textbook on the psychology of music. Bill recently completed terms as Editor of the journal Empirical Musicology Review, and as President of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition (SMPC). He is currently Associate Editor for the journals Music Perception, Semiotica, and Empirical Musicology Review. His research concerns auditory cognition, including topics such as emotional communication in music and speech, the use of facial expressions during emotional communication, and the effects of music listening on concurrent cognitive-motor activity. Most recently, he completed a study of congenital amusia (tone deafness) with the Music, Mind and Brain group at Goldsmiths, University of London, and is continuing his investigations of amusia at the University of Montreal and McGill with members of BRAMS. In addition to his research and administrative roles, Bill teaches a course at Macquarie University entitled “Music, Mind and Message” which examines music on perceptual, cognitive, neuroscientific, social, and semiotic levels.