Speaker Identification in Whisper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sociophonetic methods and findings have value in application to real-life issues,
including providing expert forensic evidence in legal cases. Forensic cases often involve voices
which differ markedly from those typically encountered in laboratory or field studies. We assess
the ability of people to identify familiar voices produced in whisper, a commonly used form
of disguise. Members of a pre-existing social network were recorded speaking normally and
in whisper. Speakers found it difficult to maintain whisper beyond 30 seconds. They and other
members of the group listened to extracts that were (i) short and whispered, (ii) long and
whispered, and (iii) short and normal (non-whispered). Foils were also included. Performance
was well above chance, and improved significantly in conditions (ii) and (iii). Differences were
found across listeners and voices. The study emphasises how important is it not to overgeneralise
from experimental data to a witness’s ability under forensic conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-14
JournalRevista Letras de Hoje
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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