Would you recognize Alberto’s voice in a line-up?

Would you recognize Alberto’s voice in a line-up?

If you are not Italian, the answer is probably no. Voice recognition is a fundamental component of everyday life and more specifically, criminal proceedings.

Imagine you are a fluent German speaker (not hard, most of you are). You pick up your phone and hear a threatening voice in German: “Guten tag, I have held your revision notes ransom. Pay 1000 euros or risk a 6.5 as your exam score”. Now imagine this exact same scenario, except the threatening voice speaks in English. Whose voice would you most likely recognize among the voices of six other potential criminals? How confident do you feel in your answer?

Multiple factors influence voice recognition (speech pattern, accent/dialect, pitch…among a few!) What we’ve decided to focus on, is the influence of language.

Research suggests that we are more accurate in voice recognition when we hear a voice in our native language, and we are more confident in our responses related to voice recognition. Furthermore, a similar study found that voice recognition does not only depend on the participant’s native language but also on the level of knowledge the participant has for a language. This means that the more knowledge a participant has of the target language, the more accurately the voice is recognized. Does this seem obvious? A lot of things in science are! Yet it is still necessary to build upon the basics.

So if you ever plan on committing a crime, be sure to speak one of the less common languages to minimize the chances a witness can single you out in a voice line-up.

-Group 36A

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *