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Age differences in voice evaluation (Lortie et al., 2018)

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Version 2 2018-02-02, 17:49
Version 1 2018-02-02, 17:45
journal contribution
posted on 2018-02-02, 17:49 authored by Catherine L. Lortie, Isabelle Deschamps, Matthieu J. Guitton, Pascale Tremblay
Purpose: The factors that influence the evaluation of voice in adulthood, as well as the consequences of such evaluation on social interactions, are not well understood. Here, we examined the effect of listeners’ age and the effect of talker age, sex, and smoking status on the auditory-perceptual evaluation of voice, voice-related psychosocial attributions, and perceived speech tempo. We also examined the voice dimensions affecting the propensity to engage in social interactions.
Method: Twenty-five younger (age 19–37 years) and 25 older (age 51–74 years) healthy adults participated in this cross-sectional study. Their task was to evaluate the voice of 80 talkers.
Results: Statistical analyses revealed limited effects of the age of the listener on voice evaluation. Specifically, older listeners provided relatively more favorable voice ratings than younger listeners, mainly in terms of roughness. In contrast, the age of the talker had a broader impact on voice evaluation, affecting auditory-perceptual evaluations, psychosocial attributions, and perceived speech tempo. Some of these talker differences were dependent upon the sex of the talker and his or her smoking status. Finally, the results also show that voice-related psychosocial attribution was more strongly associated with the propensity of the listener to engage in social interactions with a person than auditory-perceptual dimensions and perceived speech tempo, especially for the younger adults.
Conclusions: These results suggest that age has a broad influence on voice evaluation, with a stronger impact for talker age compared with listener age. While voice-related psychosocial attributions may be an important determinant of social interactions, perceived voice quality and speech tempo appear to be less influential.

Supplemental Material S1. Results for the talker voice analysis.

Lortie, C. L., Deschamps, I., Guitton, M. J., & Tremblay, P. (2018). Age differences in voice evaluation: From auditory-perceptual evaluation to social interactions. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 61, 277–245.


This study was supported by grants from the “Fonds de la Recherche du Québec Société-Culture” and the “Fonds de la Recherche du Québec en Santé” to Pascale Tremblay and from a graduate scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to Catherine L. Lortie.