14thAnnual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Lyon, France
August 25-29, 2013

The Role of Empathy in the Recognition of Vocal Emotions

Rene Altrov, Hille Pajupuu, Jaan Pajupuu

Institute of the Estonian Language, Estonia

The study addresses the role of empathy in the recognition of vocal emotions (joy, anger, sadness) when they are moderately expressed in speech which is listened to without the speaker being seen. The test was taken by 67 adults (29 male and 38 female subjects aged 30.60), whose empathy level had previously been measured by Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright's self-report questionnaire, the Empathy Quotient (EQ). In the test group only men (n=14) had a low empathy level (EQ<32), and only women (n=16) had a high empathy level (EQ>51). A comparison of the men (n=15) and women (n=22) who had a medium empathy quotient showed that gender was a factor in the recognition of emotions. To eliminate the possible gender influence, the recognition of emotions was tested by comparing the results of the men with a low EQ with those of the men with a medium EQ and the results of the women with a medium EQ with those of the women with a high EQ. According to the results, personal empathic ability does not affect the recognition of emotions from the voice.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Altrov, Rene / Pajupuu, Hille / Pajupuu, Jaan (2013): "The role of empathy in the recognition of vocal emotions", In INTERSPEECH-2013, 1341-1344.