How do you say ‘hello’? Personality impressions from brief novel voices

McAleer, P. , Todorov, A. and Belin, P. (2014) How do you say ‘hello’? Personality impressions from brief novel voices. PLoS ONE, 9(3), e90779. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090779) (PMID:24622283) (PMCID:PMC3951273)

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Abstract

On hearing a novel voice, listeners readily form personality impressions of that speaker. Accurate or not, these impressions are known to affect subsequent interactions; yet the underlying psychological and acoustical bases remain poorly understood. Furthermore, hitherto studies have focussed on extended speech as opposed to analysing the instantaneous impressions we obtain from first experience. In this paper, through a mass online rating experiment, 320 participants rated 64 sub-second vocal utterances of the word ‘hello’ on one of 10 personality traits. We show that: (1) personality judgements of brief utterances from unfamiliar speakers are consistent across listeners; (2) a two-dimensional ‘social voice space’ with axes mapping Valence (Trust, Likeability) and Dominance, each driven by differing combinations of vocal acoustics, adequately summarises ratings in both male and female voices; and (3) a positive combination of Valence and Dominance results in increased perceived male vocal Attractiveness, whereas perceived female vocal Attractiveness is largely controlled by increasing Valence. Results are discussed in relation to the rapid evaluation of personality and, in turn, the intent of others, as being driven by survival mechanisms via approach or avoidance behaviours. These findings provide empirical bases for predicting personality impressions from acoustical analyses of short utterances and for generating desired personality impressions in artificial voices.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McAleer, Dr Philip and Belin, Professor Pascal
Authors: McAleer, P., Todorov, A., and Belin, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN:1932-6203
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Authors
First Published:First published in PLoS One 9(3):e90779
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
449881Social interaction - a cognitive-neurosciences approachSimon GarrodEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/E020933/1INP - CENTRE FOR COGNITIVE NEUROIMAGING