The voice of confidence and doubt

The voice of confidence and doubt

The lecture time:On December 29, 2016 at 10 am - 11 PM


The venue:The psychology department of tsinghua university , wei qing(507)

The lecture title:Title: The voice of confidence and doubt (说话人“自信”与“怀疑”的嗓音学与社会认知)

reporter:蒋晓鸣博士(Dr. Xiaoming Jiang, McGill University,

Summary:As human beings, we use our voice to communicate social meanings. Speaker’s feeling of (un)knowing (or expressed confidence and doubt) reflects a speaker’s certainty or commitment to a statement and can be associated with one’s trustworthiness or persuasiveness in social interaction. In this talk, I will focus on a couple of recent findings on how expressed confidence and doubt is encoded in speaker’s voice and how that is decoded in listener’s brain. By showing acoustic-perceptual experiments with classification models, I will highlight essential vocal cues (such as pitch, intensity, speech rate and voice quality) that are involved in predicting speaker confidence levels, and in dissociating different speaking strategies. EEG experiments revealed listener’s brain responses to early motivational processing and delayed inferential processes that differentiate confident and doubtful expressions and voices expressing “close-to-confident”. Functional neuroimaging findings demonstrate the involvement of mentalizing and mirroring networks in decoding speaker confidence and inferring social meanings from neutral expressions. I will summarize these findings in a theoretical framework underlying human vocal communication and its implication to the understanding of persuasiveness, trustworthiness, and communication of knowledge in social psychology.


 Introduction to the speaker:Dr. Xiaoming Jiang is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the McGill University, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders. His recent publication on “how the brain decodes vocal cues of speaker confidence” (Jiang & Pell, 2015) was media-covered by Forbes and New Scientist. He did his PhD training in Department of Psychology at the Peking University. His main research field is neuropragmatics and biological and cognitive mechanisms underlying social communication (see all publications in