Acting in action: Prosodic analysis of character portrayal during acting.

During the process of acting, actors have to embody the characters that they are portraying by changing their vocal and gestural features to match standard conceptions of the characters. In this experimental study of acting, we had professional actors portray a series of stock characters (e.g., king, bully, lover), which were organized according to a predictive scheme based on the 2 orthogonal personality dimensions of assertiveness and cooperativeness. We measured 12 prosodic features of the actors’ vocal productions, as related to pitch, loudness, timbre, and duration/timing. The results showed a significant effect of character assertiveness on all 12 vocal parameters, but a weaker effect of cooperativeness on fewer vocal parameters. These findings comprise the first experimental analysis of vocal gesturing during character portrayal in actors and demonstrate that actors reliably manipulate prosodic cues in a contrastive manner to differentiate characters based on their personality traits. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)