The perception of emotional cues by children in artificial background noise

Emilia Parada-Cabaleiro, Anton Batliner, Alice Baird, Björn Schuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Most typically developed individuals have the ability to perceive emotions encoded in speech; yet, factors such as age or environmental conditions can restrict this inherent skill. Noise pollution and multimedia over-stimulation are common components of contemporary society, and have shown to particularly impair a child’s interpersonal skills. Assessing the influence of such features on the perception of emotion over different developmental stages will advance child-related research. The presented work evaluates how background noise and emotionally connoted visual stimuli affect a child’s perception of emotional speech. A total of 109 subjects from Spain and Germany (4–14 years) evaluated 20 multi-modal instances of nonsense emotional speech, under several environmental and visual conditions. A control group of 17 Spanish adults performed the same perception test. Results suggest that visual stimulation, gender, and the two sub-cultures with different language background do not influence a child’s perception; yet, background noise does compromise their ability to correctly identify emotion in speech—a phenomenon that seems to decrease with age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-182
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Speech Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-cultural
  • Developmental age
  • Emotion perception
  • Multi-modality
  • Noise
  • Nonsense speech
  • Paralinguistics


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