Have you ever had times when you meant to provide others with constructive criticism but ended up hurting their feelings, or other times when your heart sank after hearing others’ well-intentioned remarks? As a Chinese student wading through the American waters of unfamiliar emotions and sensitivities, this happens all too often in my daily life….
How gender is conveyed through speech
When we hear a voice, the speaker’s gender is one of the first things we notice about them. Even if we’re asked to categorize speakers based on dialect or accent, we still gravitate toward grouping them based on how we perceive their gender. In my lab, we study which specific physical properties of speech (known as acoustic cues) control how gender identity is perceived. The acoustic cues we examine are voice pitch (controlled by how quickly the vocal folds vibrate), voice resonance (a result of the size and shape of the throat and mouth), articulation (how we produce the consonant and vowel sounds in our speech), and intonation (the melody we produce with our speech)…