Voices of fear and anxiety and sadness and depression: the effects of speech rate and loudness on fear and anxiety and sadness and depression.
Two studies investigated the role of expressive vocal behavior (specifically, speech rate and loudness) in fear and anxiety and in sadness and depression. In the first study, participants spoke about personally experienced fear and anxiety-arousing and neutral events using 3 different voice styles: fast and loud, normal, and slow and soft. In the second study, participants spoke about personally experienced sad or depressing and neutral events using the same 3 voice styles. In both studies, the participants' highest levels of subjective affective and cardiovascular (CV) arousal occurred when they spoke about the emotional events in a mood-congruent voice style: fast and loud in the case of fear and anxiety, and slow and soft in the case of sadness or depression. Mood-incongruent voice styles canceled the heightened levels of CV arousal normally associated with these negative emotions. The voice-style manipulation had no significant effect on the participants' levels of CV arousal during the neutral discussions.
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