Parameter-Specific Morphing Reveals Contributions of Timbre to the Perception of Vocal Emotions in Cochlear Implant Users

Research on cochlear implants (CIs) has focused on speech comprehension, with little research on perception of vocal emotions. We compared emotion perception in CI users and normal-hearing (NH) individuals, using parameter-specific voice morphing.
Results: 

Unsurprisingly, CI users as a group showed lower performance in vocal emotion perception overall. Importantly, while NH individuals used timbre and fundamental frequency (F0) information to equivalent degrees, CI users were far more efficient in using timbre (compared to F0) information for this task. Thus, under the conditions of this task, CIs were inefficient in conveying emotion based on F0 alone. There was enormous variability between CI users, with low performers responding close to guessing level. Echoing previous research, we found that better vocal emotion perception was associated with better quality of life ratings.

Conclusions: 

Some CI users can utilize timbre cues remarkably well when perceiving vocal emotions.

Author(s)Source
von Eiff C, Skuk V, Zäske R et al.
doi: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000001181, Copyright © 2022 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.
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