Who wants to be a blabbermouth? Prosodic cues to correct answers in the WWTBAM quiz show scenario

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Starting from previous research on the prosodic patterns of emotion, psychological stress and deceptive speech, the paper investigates whether quizmasters convey telltale cues to correct answers in the popular four alternatives (a/b/c/d) framework of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" (WWTBAM). We simulated this game-show scenario in the lab, based on 20 naive German participants who took the roles of either quizmaster or contestant. Quizmasters were instructed to take care not to reveal correct answers to contestants. Despite this explicit instruction, our acoustic-prosodic analysis yielded clear telltale signs of correct answers. These telltale signs were consistent across all quizmasters, but complex insofar as they differed across question positions (a/b/c/d) could not be found in the introductory letters. Cues to correct answers involved timing and range of F0 and intensity patterns, speaking rate, and degree of final lengthening; pause durations between answers and introductory letters were irrelevant. The results are discussed with respect to their implications for real quizshows and the elicitation of emotions and stress in the lab.
Title of host publicationProc. 8th International Conference of Speech Prosody
EditorsJon Barnes, Alejna Brugos, Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, Nanette Veilleux
PublisherInternational Speech Communication Association (ISCA)
Publication date2 Jun 2016
StatePublished - 2 Jun 2016
Event8th Speech Prosody Conference - Boston, United States
Duration: 31 May 20163 Jun 2016


Conference8th Speech Prosody Conference
LandUnited States
SeriesSpeech Prosody

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