The Influence of Synthetic Voice on the Evaluation of a Virtual Character

João Paulo Cabral, Benjamin R. Cowan, Katja Zibrek, Rachel McDonnell


Graphical realism and the naturalness of the voice used are important aspects to consider when designing a virtual agent or character. In this work, we evaluate how synthetic speech impacts people’s perceptions of a rendered virtual character. Using a controlled experiment, we focus on the role that speech, in particular voice expressiveness in the form of personality, has on the assessment of voice level and character level perceptions. We found that people rated a real human voice as more expressive, understandable and likeable than the expressive synthetic voice we developed. Contrary to our expectations, we found that the voices did not have a significant impact on the character level judgments; people in the voice conditions did not significantly vary on their ratings of appeal, credibility, human-likeness and voice matching the character. The implications this has for character design and how this compares with previous work are discussed.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-325

Cite as: Cabral, J.P., Cowan, B.R., Zibrek, K., McDonnell, R. (2017) The Influence of Synthetic Voice on the Evaluation of a Virtual Character. Proc. Interspeech 2017, 229-233, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-325.


@inproceedings{Cabral2017,
  author={João Paulo Cabral and Benjamin R. Cowan and Katja Zibrek and Rachel McDonnell},
  title={The Influence of Synthetic Voice on the Evaluation of a Virtual Character},
  year=2017,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2017},
  pages={229--233},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2017-325},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2017-325}
}