Acoustic-Prosodic and Physiological Response to Stressful Interactions in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Daniel Bone, Julia Mertens, Emily Zane, Sungbok Lee, Shrikanth S. Narayanan, Ruth Grossman


Social anxiety is a prevalent condition affecting individuals to varying degrees. Research on autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a group of neurodevelopmental disorders marked by impairments in social communication, has found that social anxiety occurs more frequently in this population. Our study aims to further understand the multimodal manifestation of social stress for adolescents with ASD versus neurotypically developing (TD) peers. We investigate this through objective measures of speech behavior and physiology (mean heart rate) acquired during three tasks: a low-stress conversation, a medium-stress interview, and a high-stress presentation. Measurable differences are found to exist for speech behavior and heart rate in relation to task-induced stress. Additionally, we find the acoustic measures are particularly effective for distinguishing between diagnostic groups. Individuals with ASD produced higher prosodic variability, agreeing with previous reports. Moreover, the most informative features captured an individual’s vocal changes between low and high social-stress, suggesting an interaction between vocal production and social stressors in ASD.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-179

Cite as: Bone, D., Mertens, J., Zane, E., Lee, S., Narayanan, S.S., Grossman, R. (2017) Acoustic-Prosodic and Physiological Response to Stressful Interactions in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Proc. Interspeech 2017, 147-151, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-179.


@inproceedings{Bone2017,
  author={Daniel Bone and Julia Mertens and Emily Zane and Sungbok Lee and Shrikanth S. Narayanan and Ruth Grossman},
  title={Acoustic-Prosodic and Physiological Response to Stressful Interactions in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder},
  year=2017,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2017},
  pages={147--151},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2017-179},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2017-179}
}