Here is the abstract from Hannah Grime’s final year research project, supervised by Dr Laurence White.
Exploring Prosody in Depressive Speech and The Relationship Between Therapist and Patient Prosodic Features in the Therapeutic Setting
To investigate the relationship between prosody and depression severity and compare patient and therapist prosodic variables, the speech of 32 people with depression and eight therapists was analysed. Articulation rate, F0 range, and median F0 were measured within (early/late) and across (first/last) sessions. Quantitative speech analysis, answered three research questions: 1. What is the relationship between severity of depression and prosodic variables, articulation rate, F0 range, and median pitch? 2. Do patient’s prosodic features change within sessions and over the course of therapy? 3. Does the relationship between patient and therapist prosodic features change within sessions and over the course of therapy? There was no relationship between prosodic features and depression severity. There was an interaction effect of chunk and session on patient articulation rate. Comparing patient and therapist prosodic features showed no differences within or between sessions. In female-female pairs, therapists had higher articulation rate and median F0, female-female pairs showed signs of converging articulation rate.
Many findings in the current study differ from previous findings, possible reasons for differences are discussed. These findings suggest that accounting for gender and gender pairings is important when investigating depression speech and the relationship between prosody in depressed and non-depressed speakers.
Keywords: depressive speech, vocal prosody, convergence, articulation rate, F0 range