More about brows

TitleMore about brows
Publication TypePresentation
Year of Publication2003
Conference NameMultimodale communicatie
AuthorsKrahmer, Emiel
PublisherNederlandse Vereniging voor Fonetische Wetenschappen
Conference LocationTilburg, The Netherlands

In this talk we present a series of experiments which try to assess the usefulness of eyebrow movements for the perception of focus in two languages, namely Dutch (a Germanic language) and Italian (a Romance language). The first group of experiments is based on an analysis-by-synthesis method, where claims from the literature are directly implemented in an existing talking head (i.e., a combination of speech with computer graphics). Three aspects are investigated in these experiments: (1) what are the preferences of Dutch/Italian subjects concerning the placement of eyebrow movements, (2) do eyebrow movements influence the perceived prominence of words and (3) to what extend are eyebrow movements functional for the way Dutch/Italian subjects process incoming utterances. The advantage of the analysis-by-synthesis method is that results can immediately be implemented in synthetic characters. Nevertheless, the approach is arguably incomplete. If we also want to make claims about human communication, the analysis-by-synthesis technique should be supplemented with data-oriented approaches. To make this point more concrete we present results of an ongoing study based on analysis-by-observation, in which subjects are asked to utter nonsense words (/mamama/ and /gagaga/) with the focus on one syllable. It turns out that some subjects indeed use eyebrow movements to signal prominence, although various other audio-visual cues are relevant as well.