Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Michael D. Hall

Number of Pages



This study investigated whether dynamic changes in the amplitude of speech were represented along with word information. An emotional manipulation was used to examine if listeners were sensitive to dynamic changes in amplitude. In Experiment 1, six talkers produced 200 phonetically balanced (PB) words with different intended emotions (e.g., joy versus sadness). Intensity measurements across time were recorded for each target word. Statistically distinct amplitude contours were obtained as a function of intended emotion. In Experiment 2, listeners judged whether each word in a list of spoken words was "new" (i.e., word was new to the list) or "old" (i.e., word was presented earlier in the word list). Listeners were more accurate at recognizing a word as old if it was repeated by the same talker; however, there was no recognition advantage for words repeated in the same amplitude contour. In Experiment 3, listeners were asked to discriminate joy from sad amplitude contours imposed on consonant vowel (CV) syllables within two versions of a two-alternative forced choice task (unequated versus equated). Listeners' sensitivity to contour differences was high in the unequated version of the task and poor in the equated version indicating that listeners primarily rely on overall loudness differences to discern between joy and sad contours. Implications for the potential role of amplitude in the perception of emotion, and for the representation of talker information, are discussed.


Amplitude; Changes; Dynamic; Impact; Memory; Recognition; Talker; Words

Controlled Subject

Psychology, Experimental

File Format


File Size

1986.56 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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