15th Speech in Noise Workshop, 11-12 January 2024, Potsdam, Germany 15th Speech in Noise Workshop, 11-12 January 2024, Potsdam, Germany

P52Session 2 (Friday 12 January 2024, 09:00-11:30)
Affective valence affects speech intelligibility in noise

Alexandra E. Clausen
Technical University of Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany

Florian Kattner
Health and Medical University, Potsdam, Germany

Wolfgang Ellermeier
Technical University of Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany

Some indication already exists that both prosodic and semantic cues to emotional valence in speech utterances facilitate speech intelligibility in noise (e.g., Dor et al., 2021; Dupuis & Pichora-Fuller, 2014). Of all emotions, fear in the voice in particular, can lead to higher accuracy in word recognition in a noisy condition (Dupuis & Pichora-Fuller, 2014). In a first experiment, we wanted to test a possible effect of negative and positive semantic meaning of words on speech intelligibility. Participants had to recognize negative, positive, and neutral words at the end of a structured sentence in a recording partially masked by speech-spectrum noise. All sentences were spoken by the same neutral voice in the intelligibility test. In a second experiment, we investigated, if a negative or positive association to a voice can also lead to enhanced intelligibility. We experimentally manipulated the valence of voices pronouncing semantically neutral words through evaluative conditioning. In the conditioning phase, participants heard words spoken by clearly discriminable voices, which were followed by either positive, neutral, or negative images. Participants were then asked to recognize words spoken by the previously conditioned voices in an intelligibility test like in the first experiment. Enhanced speech intelligibility was expected for words with cues to negative and positive valence in both experiments.


  • Dor, Y. I., Algom, D., Shakuf, V., & Ben-David, B. M. (2022). Age-Related Changes in the Perception of Emotions in Speech: Assessing Thresholds of Prosody and Semantics Recognition in Noise for Young and Older Adults. Front. Neurosci., 16, 846117. doi:10.3389/fnins.2022.846117
  • Dupuis, K. & Pichora-Fuller, M. K. (2014). Intelligibility of Emotional Speech in Younger and Older Adults. Ear & Hearing, 35(6), 695–707. doi:10.1097/AUD.0000000000000082.

Last modified 2024-01-16 10:49:05