Sixth European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Budapest, Hungary
September 5-9, 1999

The Relationships between Voice and Gesture: Eyebrow Movements and Questioning.

A. Purson (1), S. Santi (2), R. Bertrand (1), Isabelle Guaitella (1), J. Boyer (1), C. Cavé (1)

(1) Institut de Phonétique, ESA 6057 Parole et Langage, Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, France
(2) Eladi, Gri-Desycole, Laboratoire de Phonétique, Université de Franche-Comté, Besançon, France

Our research deals with the relationship between voice and gesture during speech in an interview situation. In this study, we focus on rapid eyebrow movements during questioning. Eyebrow movements were recorded using a motion analysis system (ELITE) enabling computer reconstruction of the trajectories of small infrared retroflexive markers attached to the subject's skin. This kinematic data and the speech signal were analyzed on a Sparc SUN station. A classification based on all 150 question-answer pairs revealed recurrent rapid eyebrow movements. This kinesic marker was mainly located on answers, and appears to function as a speaking-turn onset signal which probably helps the speaker plan his/her verbal message. We also found this marker on questions (particularly during requests for confirmation), where eyebrow movements appear to emphasize the utterance's melodic curves and thus have a specific pragmatic function.

Full Paper (PDF)

Additional Image #1 [GIF]
Additional Image #2 [GIF]

Bibliographic reference.  Purson, A. / Santi, S. / Bertrand, R. / Guaitella, Isabelle / Boyer, J. / Cavé, C. (1999): "The relationships between voice and gesture: eyebrow movements and questioning.", In EUROSPEECH'99, 1735-1738.