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Head movements and prosody in multimodal feedback

Conference paper
Authors Max Boholm
Gustaf Lindblad
Published in NEALT Proceedings Series: 3rd Nordic Symposium on Multimodal Communication, 27-28 May 2011, Helsinki
Volume 15
Pages 25-32
ISSN 1736-8197
Publication year 2011
Published at Centre of Interdisciplinary Research/Cognition/Information. SSKKII (2010-)
Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Pages 25-32
Language en
Subject categories Communication Studies, Linguistics, Phonetics


The study analyses the relation between words, including their prosodic features, and head movements in communicative feedback, i.e. unobtrusive vocal and gestural expressions which convey information about ability and willingness to continue, perceive, and understand, as well as attitudes and emotions. Examples are words such as m and okay, and head movements such as nods and shakes. Six recorded first acquaintance conversations in Swedish have been analyzed. Initial direction, repetition, start time, and duration of head movements has been identified by frame-byframe video analysis. Start time, duration, F0- contour, and pitch of vocal-verbal feedback were analyzed. Main results of the study are: first, multimodal nods more frequently start before or at the same time as words, than words starting before nods. Second, nods have longer duration when produced with words than without. Third, certain words are typically associated with certain nod types, e.g. okay with up nods, and m with repeated nods. Finally, certain prosodic patterns are more associated with certain nod types, e.g. rising pitch and longer durations with single up nods, and falling or flat pitch with repeated down nods.

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