Emotional authenticity modulates affective and social trait inferences from voices

Ana Pinheiro, Andrey Anikin, Tatiana Conde, João Sarzedas, Sinead Chen, Sophie Scott, Cesar Lima

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


The human voice is a primary tool for verbal and nonverbal communication. Studies on laughter emphasize a distinction between spontaneous laughter, which reflects a genuinely felt emotion, and volitional laughter, associated with more intentional communicative acts. Listeners can reliably differentiate the two. It remains unclear, however, if they can detect authenticity in other vocalizations, and whether authenticity determines the affective and social impressions that we form about others. Here, 137 participants listened to laughs and cries that could be spontaneous or volitional and rated them on authenticity, valence, arousal, trustworthiness and dominance. Bayesian mixed models indicated that listeners detect authenticity similarly well in laughter and crying. Speakers were also perceived to be more trustworthy, and in a higher arousal state, when their laughs and cries were spontaneous. Moreover, spontaneous laughs were evaluated as more positive than volitional ones, and we found that the same acoustic features predicted perceived authenticity and trustworthiness in laughter: high pitch, spectral variability and less voicing. For crying, associations between acoustic features and ratings were less reliable. These findings indicate that emotional authenticity shapes affective and social trait inferences from voices, and that the ability to detect authenticity in vocalizations is not limited to laughter.

This article is part of the theme issue ‘Voice modulation: from origin and mechanism to social impact (Part I)’.
Antal sidor9
TidskriftPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
StatusPublished - 2021

Bibliografisk information


Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Psykologi


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