Andrey Anikin: Screaming out loud

18 October 2022 10:15 to 11:30 Seminar

Andrey Anikin, postdoc at LUCS

In this seminar, I introduce myself and my current postdoc project,
“Sensory biases in nonverbal communication”. This includes a brief
description of the project and its main results so far, followed by a
more detailed presentation of the latest, unpublished study on the role
of voice loudness in the communication of formidability and aggression
(hence, the title). Study abstract (preliminary):

A major function of vocal communication in animals and humans is to
convey formidability, and the most general known principle is that low
frequency projects large size and aggression, and high frequency small
size and fear. We argue that the “forgotten dimension” of loudness
explains many puzzling exceptions to this principle. We find that voice
intensity is implicitly associated with size, it is the most robust
predictor of actual physical strength, and speakers consistently
increase loudness to sound large, strong, or aggressive. However, there
is a physiological tradeoff between being low and loud: a loud voice is
achieved by elevating pitch, which accounts for high-pitched aggressive
vocalizations, and by opening the mouth wide into the vowel [a],
potentially explaining why [a] is as large as [u] in mil-mal sound
symbolism. In contrast, vocal tract length can be adjusted independently
of pitch and loudness. Given these tradeoffs in vocal production,
various strategies are available for vocal intimidation: low frequency
is apparently prioritized for size exaggeration, but loudness takes
center stage for displays of strength and aggression.


About the event:

18 October 2022 10:15 to 11:30

Room LUX B:538


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