Audiovisual discrimination between speech and laughter: Why and when visual information might help

Stavros Petridis, Maja Pantic

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    41 Citations (Scopus)
    2 Downloads (Pure)


    Past research on automatic laughter classification/detection has focused mainly on audio-based approaches. Here we present an audiovisual approach to distinguishing laughter from speech, and we show that integrating the information from audio and video channels may lead to improved performance over single-modal approaches. Both audio and visual channels consist of two streams (cues), facial expressions and head pose for video and cepstral and prosodic features for audio. Two types of experiments were performed: 1) subject-independent cross-validation on the AMI dataset and 2) cross-database experiments on the AMI and SAL datasets. We experimented with different combinations of cues with the most informative being the combination of facial expressions, cepstral, and prosodic features. Our results suggest that the performance of the audiovisual approach is better on average than single-modal approaches. The addition of visual information produces better results when it comes to female subjects. When the training conditions are less diverse in terms of head movements than the testing conditions (training on the SAL dataset, testing on the AMI dataset), then no improvement was observed with the addition of visual information. On the other hand, when the training conditions are similar (cross validation on the AMI dataset), or more diverse (training on the AMI dataset, testing on the SAL dataset), in terms of head movements than is the case in the testing conditions, an absolute increase of about 3% in the F1 rate for laughter is reported when visual information is added to audio information.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)216-234
    Number of pages19
    JournalIEEE transactions on multimedia
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


    • laughter-versus-speech discrimination
    • principal components analysis (PCA)
    • EC Grant Agreement nr.: FP7/211486
    • IR-79393
    • Neural Networks
    • Human behavior analysis
    • METIS-287846
    • EWI-21294

    Cite this