The Emotional Vocal Map

People don't need words to vocalize emotions. Wordless sounds will do just fine in many cases. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have catalogued these vocalizations that convey emotion.  

To start things off, the researchers asked 56 people, some professional actors and some not, to react to different emotional scenarios. From these reactions, the team recorded more than 2,000 vocal bursts. Next, they used Amazon Mechanical Turk, a website that enables you to outsource tasks you can’t relegate to computers, to recruit more than 1,000 people to listen to the recordings. As the recruits listened, the researchers had them rate the vocalizations based on the emotions and tone (positive or negative) they thought the clips conveyed.

Previous studies had pegged the number of emotions we can express with vocal bursts at around 13. But when the UC Berkeley team analyzed their results, they found there are at least 24 distinct ways that humans convey meaning without words.

You can read more about the research here. But what's really fun is to listen to those vocalizations in an interactive map. Moving your mouse over a colored spot will produce that vocalization, so sweeping across many will fill your speakers with emotional crowd noises. Have fun, but heed my advice and don't stay too long in one region without venturing to the others, because some of these vocalizations can make you feel things. -via Metafilter

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