On the acoustics of overlapping laughter in conversational speech

Khiet Phuong Truong, Jürgen Trouvain

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    The social nature of laughter invites people to laugh together. This joint vocal action often results in overlapping laughter. In this paper, we show that the acoustics of overlapping laughs are different from non-overlapping laughs. We found that overlapping laughs are stronger prosodically marked than non-overlapping ones, in terms of higher values for duration, mean F0, mean and maximum intensity, and the amount of voicing. This effect is intensified by the number of people joining in the laughter event, which suggests that entrainment is at work. We also found that group size affects the number of overlapping laughs which illustrates the contagious nature of laughter. Finally, people appear to join laughter simultaneously at a delay of approximately 500 ms; a delay that must be considered when developing spoken dialogue systems that are able to respond to users’ laughs.
    Original languageUndefined
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (Interspeech 2012)
    Place of PublicationFrance
    PublisherInternational Speech Communication Association (ISCA)
    Number of pages4
    ISBN (Print)1990-9772
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012
    Event13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, INTERSPEECH 2012 - Portland, United States
    Duration: 9 Sept 201213 Sept 2012
    Conference number: 13

    Publication series

    PublisherInternational Speech Communication Association
    ISSN (Print)1990-9772


    Conference13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, INTERSPEECH 2012
    Abbreviated titleINTERSPEECH
    Country/TerritoryUnited States


    • EWI-22433
    • Conversation
    • Laughter
    • METIS-289758
    • Overlap
    • IR-83392
    • entrainment

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