If you want to feel happier, try sounding happier.
“The voice is one of our main channels of emotional expression, and the results of this study indicate that when we speak we do not just influence others but also ourselves, In a sense, we listen to our own voice to find out how we feel.
When people listened to their altered voice, it changed their mood. They took on whatever emotion their voice was expressing — whether happiness, sadness or fear.
“There is a lot of emotional information contained in a person’s voice, such as change in pitch indicating happiness or sadness, increase in volume showing anger, vibrato indicating fear or stress, talking speed signaling excitement, and so on.
To make a voice sound happier, for instance, they altered the pitch and inflection so as to convey positivity, while also increasing dynamic range to make the voice sound more confident. Comparable adjustments were made to make the voices sound sadder or fearful.
We actually listen to our own voices to get a sense of how we’re feeling, and that vocal information may be a powerful way to change a person’s emotional state.
Findings are important as know so little about how vocal emotion works and gaining a better understanding could lead to therapeutic technologies that treat depression and anxiety. For instance, patients could retell positive memories and listen to a version of their own voice that has been modified to make them sound happier, thus improving their mood.
“What we have demonstrated is that something similar holds for the voice, but it is an open question, what would happen if you intentionally set out to speak with a happier voice in order to increase your happiness?”