Dissertation Defense

Addressing Variability in Speech when Recognizing Emotion and Mood In-the-Wild

John Gideon
3725 Beyster BuildingMap

Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness, affecting 4% of Americans, that is characterized by periodic mood changes ranging from severe depression to extreme compulsive highs. Both mania and depression profoundly impact the behavior of affected individuals, resulting in potentially devastating personal and social consequences. Bipolar disorder is managed clinically with regular interactions with care providers, who assess mood, energy levels, and the form and content of speech. Recent work has proposed smartphones for automatically monitoring mood using speech.

Much of the early work in speech-centered mood detection has been done in the laboratory or clinic and is not reflective of the variability found in real-world conversations and conditions. Outside of these settings, automatic mood detection is hard, as the recordings include environmental noise, differences in recording devices, and variations in subject speaking patterns. Without addressing these issues, it is difficult to move towards a passive mobile health system. My research works to address this variability present in speech so that such a system can be created, allowing for interventions to mitigate the life-changing effects of mood transitions.

However detecting mood directly from speech is difficult, as mood varies over the course of days or weeks, while speech fluctuates rapidly. To address this, my thesis explores how an intermediate step can be used to aid in this prediction. For example, one of the major symptoms of bipolar disorder is emotion dysregulation – changes in the way emotions are perceived and a lack of inhibition in their expression. Our work has supported the relationship between automatically extracted emotion estimates and mood. Because of this, my thesis explores how to mitigate the variability found when detecting emotion from speech. The remainder of my thesis is focused on employing these emotion-based features, as well as features based on language content, to real-world applications.


Sonya Siddique

Faculty Host

Prof. Emily Mower Provost