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Impact of Vocal Fry and Speaker Gender on Listener Perceptions of Speaker Personal Attributes

Published:November 16, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2022.09.018

      Abstract

      Objectives

      Many studies have investigated listener perceptions of speakers who use vocal fry, but results remain mixed. This study aimed to investigate how vocal fry and speaker gender impact listener perceptions of a speaker's likeability, intelligence, attractiveness, and salary-attainment, described as “attributes.” We hypothesized speakers with vocal fry would be evaluated more negatively on all attributes than speakers without vocal fry, with female speakers rated more negatively than male speakers.

      Methods

      Twenty nine listeners rated male and female speakers with and without vocal fry on these attributes using a five-point Likert scale.

      Study Design

      This experiment used a randomized mixed methods design with Vocal Fry and Speaker Gender as independent variables predicting attribute ratings.

      Results

      Results of a MANOVA revealed a significant main effect for Fry (Λ = 0.607; F(4,29) = 4.691; ηp2 = 0.393; P = 0.005), where speakers with vocal fry were rated significantly more negatively than speakers without vocal fry. Additionally, there was a significant Fry by Speaker Gender interaction where female speakers without vocal fry were rated as significantly more attractive [F(1,36) = 13.964; P= 0.003; ηp2 = 0.304] and intelligent [F(1,36) = 10.740; P = 0.001; ηp2 = 0.251] than female speakers with vocal fry. There was no significant difference between ratings of male speakers in either fry condition.

      Conclusions

      Female speakers with vocal fry were rated as less attractive and intelligent than female speakers without vocal fry, but perception of male speakers did not change whether or not vocal fry was present in the acoustic signal.

      Keywords

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