Ask “Dr.” Blade

I get a lot of questions about the psychological aspects of speech-recognition systems. Here are some of the more common questions—and my answers.

Should we use a male or a female voice for our system?

Social psychologists have found that in North America there are stereotypes associated with male and female voices. Male voices are seen as having more authority on technical matters, and female voices are seen as being more nurturing.[1]

[1] Clifford Nass and Byron Reeves, The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media Like Real People and Places (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996), Chapters 14 and 15.

If a speech-recognition system were to inform callers about something sensitive or depressing, ...

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