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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01994

Voice stress analysis: a new framework for voice and effort in human performance.

 Martine Van Puyvelde1, 2*, Xavier Neyt1,  Francis McGlone3 and Nathalie Pattyn1, 2
  • 1Royal Military Academy (Belgium), Belgium
  • 2Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
  • 3Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom

People rely on speech for communication, both in a personal and professional context, and often under different conditions of physical, cognitive and/or emotional load. Since vocalization is entirely integrated within both our central (CNS) and autonomic nervous system (ANS), a mounting number of studies have examined the relationship between voice output and the impact of stress. In the current paper, we will outline the different stages of voice output, i.e., breathing, phonation and resonance in relation to a neurovisceral integrated perspective on stress and human performance. In reviewing the function of these three stages of voice output, we will give an overview of the voice parameters encountered in studies on voice stress analysis (VSA) and review the impact of the different types of physiological, cognitive and/or emotional load. In the Discussion, with regard to physical load, a competition for ventilation processes required to speak and those to meet metabolic demand of exercised muscles is described. With regard to cognitive and emotional load, we will present the “Model for Voice and Effort” (MoVE) that comprises the integration of ongoing top-down and bottom-up activity under different types of load and combined patterns of voice output. In the MoVE, it is proposed that the fundamental frequency (F0) values as well as jitter give insight in bottom-up/arousal activity and the effort a subject is capable to generate but that its range and variance are related to ongoing top-down processes and the amount of control a subject can maintain. Within the MoVE, a key-role is given to the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) which is known to be involved in both the equilibration between bottom-up arousal and top-down regulation and vocal activity. Moreover, the connectivity between the ACC and the nervus vagus (NV) is underlined as an indication of the importance of respiration. Since respiration is the driving force of both stress and voice production, it is hypothesized to be the missing-link in our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of the dynamic between speech and stress.

Keywords: Voice Stress Analysis, stress, human performance, voice output, Bottom-up & Top-down modeling, model for voice and effort

Received: 17 Jul 2018; Accepted: 28 Sep 2018.

Edited by:

Graham F. Welch, UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Johan Sundberg, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
David Howard, University of York, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2018 Van Puyvelde, Neyt, McGlone and Pattyn. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Martine Van Puyvelde, Royal Military Academy (Belgium), Brussels, 1000, Belgium,