Vocal expression reflects an integral component of communication that varies considerably within individuals across contexts and is disrupted in a range of neurological and psychiatric disorders. There is reason to suspect that variability in vocal expression reflects, in part, the availability of "on-line" resources (e.g., working memory, attention). Thus, understanding vocal expression is a potentially important biometric index of information processing, not only across but within individuals over time. A first step in this line of research involves establishing a link between vocal expression and information processing systems in healthy adults. The present study employed a dual attention experimental task where participants provided natural speech while simultaneously engaged in a baseline, medium or high nonverbal processing-load task. Objective, automated, and computerized analysis was employed to measure vocal expression in 226 adults. Increased processing load resulted in longer pauses, fewer utterances, greater silence overall and less variability in frequency and intensity levels. These results provide compelling evidence of a link between information processing resources and vocal expression, and provide important information for the development of an automated, inexpensive and uninvasive biometric measure of information processing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry