Does the Voice Show Emotion Accurately?

Your Voice and Emotion

I love this topic. I am known as a body language expert, but my degrees are broader and include all of the nonverbal communication. The skill I use most often in my "reads" of people is detecting emotion and honesty via paralanguage. When I follow murder trials for the media or analyze public figures' speeches or events like apology statements, I place the paralanguage read as an essential part of the analysis.

1.   How much emotion does our voice reveal? Please note any critical studies on this subject matter that contribute to your answer. If it doesn't convey emotion, please explain why. 

Are voices reveal all our emotions. The seven core emotions (there are more, but the basics are ) Anger, Fear, Disgust, Happiness, Sadness, Surprise, and Contempt, and more.  Research shows that people more accurately interpret someone's emotion from just their voice than they were from listening to and observing or just observing them.

(Here is one of the studies

Human voices convey emotions much more quickly than words. It takes just 1/10 of a second for our brains to begin to recognize emotions from paralanguage (Paralanguage in the science of all the nuances of the voice including breath, tone, tempo, volume level, pauses, etc.) And we pay more attention to the emotions of vocalizations, like laughter or grows, or crying than we do emotions expressed via words.   A test for that is to cry or giggle to a baby or a dog and see how they respond. Or note how, when someone you love calls you, sometimes you know that something is wrong in their lives just from the way they greet you on the call.

2.   Can you provide 3-4 examples (if there are any) about times when voice conveys emotion? 

Voice is one of the primary pathways for expressing emotions. You can see how you can say the same word to portray many different emotions just by how you express it vocally. Say the word "Really" with interest, excitement, concern, worry, sympathy, and annoyance.

Now say, "Congratulations" filled with joy for someone. Now say it sarcastically,

Now imagine you are consoling someone for a loss and say, "I am so sorry for your loss." Without any emotion and now say it with emotion.

When I analyze influential people's apology statements to the media, I listen to them, and I am sorry statement to hear how they say it. (If they do) and it tells me so much about whether they feel remorse. )

A fun example is how Joey on Friends says, "How are you doing?" By vocally emphasizing the YOU that makes the listener feel that he is speaking directly to them in a suggestive sexual way. ( And yes he has a facial expression that goes with it)


3.   My thought on this is that I wonder how a wearable can detect the more subtle changes in your voice. When you're sad or nervous, your voice may shake—but on a day-to-day basis, how might something like this be useful for people?  4 What is more subtle ways emotion show up in speech? 


4.   I think it could help people who struggle with depression and other issues self monitor their emotional state so they can give themselves more self-care.

At this moment,  Under COVID 19  many people are dealing with more stress and anxiety, and depression than under normal circumstances.

This device could help monitor e how they feel before their emotions become more debilitating.  For someone with more severe issues, the device could be life-changing. For example, someone with bipolar disorder could detect if they are going into a depressive or manic state and self soothes by breathing meditating or stepping away from an overstimulating event or stopping dangerous behavior like drinking or gambling, call a friend, or their therapist.

It might help someone that has issues with a temper and dangerous anger issues self-monitor as some people don't hear their voices change. I.e., "I AM NOT YELLING."

It could help someone that is more C corrector on the DISC assessment of behavior differences that are typically not very emotional in their delivery to create more emotional nuisances in their essential communications.

The technology has existed for years in the form of VSA, Voice Stress Analysis to detect deception. Conceivably if you could use the wearable to monitor the stress in your voice to reduce it to be a better liar, this could be dangerous for others, primarily if used by someone on the Dark Triad like a Malignant Narcissists. They already use their skills at reading people to manipulate their delivery to "appear" other than are to feed their need for emotional supply.

5.   Anything else you'd like to add?

You may know this, but I love it. We know that your voice sounds different when you are smiling, a genuine zygomatic smile than when you are "fake" smiling. Your vocal cords and larynx change when you smile.  Research shows that listeners can identify the type of smile someone is displaying based on the sound of their voice alone. (Smile -- And The World Can Hear You, Even If You Hide