Cross Cultural Personality Perception

Psychologists have shown that there is a correlation between nonverbal characteristics of speaking on one side, and personality traits as perceived by the listeners on the other side. For example, individuals that speak loud are perceived as more extroverted than individuals that speak soft, and individuals that speak fast are perceived as more brilliant than individuals that speak slow. The problem is that the mapping between nonverbal characteristics of speaking and perceived personality traits is, in many cases, culture dependent. In other words, the above examples are known to apply in southern Europe, but they can be wrong when applied in other cultural areas.

The goal of this project is to develop systems that address the above problem by "translating" automatically the personality of a speaker. This means that the nonverbal characteristics of a speaker, giving rise to certain personality perceptions in a given culture, should be modified automatically to give rise to the same personality perceptions in another culture. For example, the recording of a southern Mediterranean person speaking loud and fast should be modified so that the resulting voice has the nonverbal characteristics of an extrovert and brilliant person (see the above example) in the culture of a listener coming from an area different from southern Europe.

The project can be described as an application of personality psychology findings to speech analysis and synthesis. In fact, the project starts from the correlation between physical characteristics of the voice and personality traits and leads to engineering applications where 1) natural voices are analyzed to infer personality perceptions from physical characteristics, and 2) synthetic voices are modified to elicit desired personality perceptions.

Perceptive and Cognitive Systems
International Institute of Information Technology, University of Geneva
Indo Swiss Joint Research Programme
May 01, 2009
Apr 30, 2012