Perception of Acoustic Emotion Cues in Normal Hearing Listeners and Cochlear Implant Users

Steven Gilbers, Christina Fuller, M. Broersma, M.B. Goudbeek, Rolien Free, Deniz Başkent

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractOther research output


Due to the limitations in sound transmission in the electrode-nerve interface, cochlear implant users are unable to fully perceive the acoustic emotion cues in speech. Therefore, it has been suggested that they use different perceptual strategies than normal-hearing listeners, namely by adapting the relative importance of vocal emotion cues (Winn, Chatterjee & Idsardi, 2011). The present study investigates whether normal-hearing listeners and cochlear-implant users indeed employ different emotion recognition strategies. To this end, voice actors were recorded pronouncing a nonce word in multiple emotions. These recordings’ pitch-related acoustic cues were analyzed phonetically, and the recordings were used to test normal-hearing listeners’ and cochlear-implant users’ emotion recognition. Subsequently, these analyses’ results were used to model both groups’ perceptual strategies.Normal-hearing listeners outperformed cochlear-implant users in emotion recognition, even when presented with cochlear-implant simulated stimuli. Unlike cochlear-implant users, however, normal-hearing listeners recognized one particular actor’s emotionsworse than the other actors’. The groups thus behaved differently when presented with similar input, supporting the different strategies hypothesis. Considering the respective speaker’s deviating pronunciation regarding mean pitch and pitch range, it appears that for normal-hearing listeners, mean pitch is a more salient cue than pitch range, whereas cochlear-implant users are biased towards pitch range cues.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventBias in Auditory Perception Conference - Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, Denmark
Duration: 18 Sept 201420 Sept 2014


ConferenceBias in Auditory Perception Conference
CityAarhus, Denmark


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