Smiling during talking yields speech with higher formants, and hence larger formant dispersion. Previous studies have shown that motor resonance during perception of words related to smiling can activate muscles responsible for the smiling action. If word perception causes smiling activation for such smile-related words, then this motor resonance may occur also during production, resulting in larger formant dispersion in these smile-related words. This paper reports on formant measurements from tokens of the Corpus of Spoken Dutch. Formant values of smile-related word tokens were compared to semantically different but phonetically similar word tokens. Results suggest that formant dispersion is indeed larger in smile-related words than in control words, although the predicted difference was observed only for female speakers. These findings suggest that motor resonance originating from a word's meaning may affect the articulatory and acoustic realization of affective spoken words. Female speakers tend to produce the word smile with a smile.
Index Terms: smiling; affect; motor resonance; formants; formant dispersion
Bibliographic reference. Quené, Hugo / Schuerman, Will (2012): "smile with a smile", In INTERSPEECH-2012, 603-606.