Reliability of human-supervised formant-trajectory measurement for forensic voice comparison

J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 Jan;133(1):EL54-60. doi: 10.1121/1.4773223.


Acoustic-phonetic approaches to forensic voice comparison often include human-supervised measurement of vowel formants, but the reliability of such measurements is a matter of concern. This study assesses the within- and between-supervisor variability of three sets of formant-trajectory measurements made by each of four human supervisors. It also assesses the validity and reliability of forensic-voice-comparison systems based on these measurements. Each supervisor's formant-trajectory system was fused with a baseline mel-frequency cepstral-coefficient system, and performance was assessed relative to the baseline system. Substantial improvements in validity were found for all supervisors' systems, but some supervisors' systems were more reliable than others.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Forensic Sciences / methods*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Observer Variation
  • Pattern Recognition, Physiological
  • Phonetics*
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Software
  • Sound Spectrography
  • Speech Acoustics*
  • Speech Production Measurement
  • Telephone
  • Time Factors
  • Voice Quality*
  • Young Adult