The Sound of Color: Do Prosodic Cues Reflect Perceived Color and Brightness? Open Access

Duan, Josephine (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/z890rt384?locale=en
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Abstract

Although prosody (the rhythm, intonation, and rate of speech) has been assumed to have no direct impact on the processing of meaning, recent studies have shown that language users may be sensitive to prosodic cues to meaning in spoken language, suggesting that prosody may impact how we produce and perceive semantic information in speech. The current study examined one potential example of non-arbitrary sound to meaning mapping that may be reflected in prosody, the correspondence between sound and color. Two experiments examined the extent to which speakers spontaneously produce prosodic correlates to meaning when describing color and brightness. In Experiment 1, participants produced verbal labels for different colors and brightness levels using actual color names. In Experiment 2, participants performed a similar task using novel words for color labels. Acoustic analyses in Experiment 1 showed that speakers' prosody reliably differed across color labels. Further, labels for cool colors (purple, blue, and green) were significantly higher in pitch and amplitude than those for warm colors (yellow, orange, and red). However, the same differences were not found in Experiment 2. Findings suggest a complex relationship between prosody and meaning, which may be attributed to different types of auditory and visual mappings.

Table of Contents

Introduction ....................................................................................................................................1

Experiment 1

Methods..................................................................................................................................8

Results and Discussion .............................................................................................................11

Experiment 2

Methods.................................................................................................................................18

Results and Discussion ..............................................................................................................20

General Discussion ...........................................................................................................................23

References......................................................................................................................................27

Figure 1a-b: Mean F0 across brightness levels by blocks at word- and sentence-levels in

Experiment 1...................................................................................................................30

Figure 2a-b: Mean amplitude across brightness levels by blocks at word- and sentence-levels in

Experiment 1.................................................................................................................. 31

Figure 3a-b: Average duration across brightness levels by blocks at word- and sentence-levels in

Experiment 1.................................................................................................................. 32

Figure 4a-b: Mean F0 across colors at word- and sentence-levels in Experiment 1....................................... 33

Figure 5a-b: Mean amplitude across colors at word- and sentence-levels in Experiment 1..............................34

Figure 6a-b: Average duration across colors at word- and sentence-levels in Experiment 1........................... 35

Figure 7a-b: Mean F0 across brightness levels by blocks at word- and sentence-levels in

Experiment 2................................................................................................................... 36

Figure 8a-b: Mean amplitude across brightness levels by blocks at word- and sentence-levels in

Experiment 2................................................................................................................... 37

Figure 9a-b: Average duration across brightness levels by blocks at word- and sentence-levels in

Experiment 2................................................................................................................... 38

Figure 10a-b: Mean F0 across colors at word- and sentence-levels in Experiment 2...................................... 39

Figure 11a-b: Mean amplitude across colors at word- and sentence-levels in Experiment 2............................ 40

Figure 12a-b: Average duration across colors at word- and sentence-levels in Experiment 2.......................... 41

Appendix A: Color spectrums and RGB coordinates...................................................................................42

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