Comparing American and Palestinian Perceptions of Charisma Using Acoustic-Prosodic and Lexical Analysis
Fadi Biadsy, Julia Hirschberg, Andrew Rosenberg, and Wisam Dakka
The Department of Computer Science, Columbia University, New York, USA
Why study Charismatic Speech?
Charisma, the ability to lead by virtue of personality alone, is difficult to define but relatively easy to identify. However, cultural factors clearly affect perceptions of charisma. In this paper we compare results from parallel perception studies investigating charismatic speech in Palestinian Arabic and American English. We examine acoustic/prosodic and lexical correlates of charisma ratings to determine how the two cultures differ with respect to their views of charismatic speech.
- Token duration: positive correlate with charisma in bothstudies
- Pause: number of pauses to number of words in the token gives a positive correlate only in Arabic
- Sdev of length of pauses: negative correlate in English but positive in Arabic
- Speaking Rate
- Speaking Rate: positive correlate in English and approaching negative correlate in Arabic
- Speaking rate of fastest intonational phrase: positive correlation in both
- Mean F0: positive correlate in both studies
- Min F0: positive correlate in English but negative in Arabic
- Max and Sdev F0: positive correlate in Arabic only
- HiF0 max and Sdev: positive correlate in Arabic only
- Mean HiF0: positive correlate in both
- Normalized Pitch
- Max F0: approaching significance with negative correlation in English
- Mean HiF0: positive correlate in both
- Max and Sdev HiF0: positive correlate in Arabic only
- Mean and Sdev of rms of IPs: positive correlate in both
- Sdev Intensity: positive correlate in Arabic only
- ToBI Labels
- Ratio of H* pitch accents: negative correlate in Englishonly
- Ratio of !H* and L+H* pitch accents: positive correlate in both
- Ratio of L* pitch accent: negatively correlates with charisma in both languages
- Ratio of H- phrase accent: phrase accent approaches positive significance in English only
- L% boundary tone: positively correlate with charisma in Arabic only
- H% boundary tone: negatively correlate with charisma in Arabic only
- It is an intriguing phenomenon
- To identify potential charismatic leaders
- To provide a feedback system for individuals who want to improve their speaking style – politicians, professors, students…
- To create a charismatic Text-to-Speech system, when compelling speech is needed (e.g., Intelligent tutoring system)
- Number of words: positively correlated with charisma in both studies
- Disfluency:rate of disfluencies (repetitions, repairs, and filled pauses) negatively correlated with charisma in both
- The filler “yaEony” (يعني): negatively correlate with charisma in Arabic
- Ratio of repeated words: positive correlate in both
- The use of Arabic regional dialect: negative correlation with charisma
- First person plural pronoun: positive correlate in English only
- Third person singular pronouns: negative correlate in Arabic but positive in English
- Third person plural pronouns: negative correlate in English but positive in Arabic
- Part of Speech
- Ratio of adverbs, prepositions, and nouns: negative correlate in Arabic
- Ratio of adverbs and adjectives: negative correlate in English
‘Functional’ Definition of Charisma
What is Charisma?
- Collect tokens of charismatic and non-charismatic speech from a small set of speakers on a small set of topics
- Ask listeners to rate the ‘The speaker is charismatic’ plus statements about other 25 attributes (e.g., The speaker is boring, charming, persuasive,…)
- Correlate listener ratings with lexico-syntactic and acoustic-prosodic features of the tokens to identify potential cues to perception of charisma
- Ability to attract and retain followers by virtue of personal characteristics – not traditional or political office (Weber ‘47)
- What makes an individual charismatic?
- Their message?
- Their personality?
- Their speaking style?
- Charisma arising from the faith of a leader’s listener-followers (Marcus, 1967)
- It as a combination of a ‘gift of grace’, an inspiring message and an important crisis (Boss, 1976)
- Tannen (1984) identifies a number of pragmatic dimensions that vary cross-culturally including when to talk, formulacity, and degree of indirectness, cohesion and coherence.
American and Palestinian Perception Studies
Conclusions and Future Work
Influence of Speaker and Topic on Charisma Ratings
What is Charismatic Speech?
- While American and Palestinian speakers share some notion of a ‘functional’ definite of charisma — both find speakers who are persuasive, charming, enthusiastic and not boring to be charismatic — American speakers also find passionate and convincing speakers to be charismatic, while Palestinians associate the qualities of toughness and powerfulness with charisma
- Arabic subjects tended to be more homogenous in their judgments than were English subjects
- When we examine the acoustic/prosodic and lexical correlates of charisma in each study, we again find some broad similarities and some major differences
- Future Work
- Machine learning experiments to predict degree of charisma for a given speech token based on our features
- Perception experiments:
- Palestinian and Swedish subjects rate English
- American subjects rate Arabic
- Speech that leads listeners to perceive the speaker as charismatic
- What aspects of speech might contribute to the perception of a speaker as charismatic?
- Content of message?
- Lexico-syntactic features?
- Acoustic-prosodic features?
- Identity of speaker of a segment: significantly influences subjects’ ratings of charisma in both studies.
- Subject’s Recognition of speaker: positively influences perceptions of charisma in English.
- Topic (in English): approaching statistical significance on subjects’ ratings of charisma. Healthcare (mean rating 3.31), postwar Iraq (3.29), reasons for running (3.28), content-neutral (3.07), and taxes (2.97).
- Topic (in Arabic): influences charisma ratings. The Israeli separation wall (3.96), the assassination of the Hamas leader (3.37), the debate among the Palestinian groups (3.23), the Palestinian Authority and calls for reforms (3.21), and the Intifada and resistance (3.17)
- Subjects for English experiment: 12 native American English speakers (6 f, 6 m)
- They were presented with 45 speech segments of 2–28 seconds duration, 5 each from 9 candidates for Democratic nomination for U.S. president in 2004
- Topics: greeting, reasons for running, tax cuts, postwar Iraq, healthcare.
Is Charisma a Culture-Dependent Phenomenon?
- Subjects for Arabic experiment: 12 native Palestinian Arabic speakers (6 f, 6 m)
- Presented with 44 speech tokens of 3–28 seconds, 2 each from Palestinian politicians and authors
- Tokens extracted from Aljazeera talk shows, topics: the assassination, of the Hamas leader, the debate among the Palestinian, groups, The Intifada and resistance, the Israeli separation wall, the Palestinian Authority and calls for reforms
- Do people of different languages and cultures perceive charisma differently?
- Do they perceive charismaticspeech differently?
- Do Arabic listeners respond to American politicians the same way Americans do?
- Do Americans hear Swedish professors the same way Swedish students do?
Recent results: Prediction of Charisma (actual vs. predicted charisma score)