You are only as old as you sound: Auditory aftereffects in vocal age perception

High-level adaptation not only biases the perception of faces, but also causes transient distortions in auditory perception of non-linguistic voice information about gender, identity, and emotional intonation. Here we report a novel auditory aftereffect in perceiving vocal age: age estimates were elevated in age-morphed test voices when preceded by adaptor voices of young speakers (˜20 yrs), compared to old adaptor voices (˜70 yrs). This vocal age aftereffect (VAAE) complements a recently reported face aftereffect (Schweinberger et al., 2010) and points to selective neuronal coding of vocal age. Intriguingly, post-adaptation assessment revealed that VAAEs could persist for minutes after adaptation, although reduced in magnitude. As an important qualification, VAAEs during post-adaptation were modulated by gender congruency between speaker and listener: For both male and female listeners, VAAEs were much reduced for test voices of opposite gender. Overall, this study establishes a new auditory aftereffect in the perception of vocal age. We offer a tentative sociobiological explanation for the differential, gender-dependent recovery from vocal age adaptation.

from Hearing Research

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Posted on July 19, 2011, in Research and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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