Improved Classification of Speaking Styles for Mental Health Monitoring using Phoneme Dynamics

Keng-hao Chang, Howard Lei, John Canny
Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (2011)


This paper investigates the usefulness of segmental phoneme-dynamics for classification of speaking styles. We modeled transition details based on the phoneme sequences emitted by a speech recognizer, using data obtained from a recording of 39 depressed patients with 7 different speaking styles - normal, pressured, slurred, stuttered, flat, slow and fast speech. We designed and compared two set of phoneme models: a language model treating each phoneme as a word unit (one for each style) and a context-dependent phoneme duration model based on Gaussians for each speaking style considered. The experiments showed that language modeling at the phoneme level performed better than the duration model. We also found that better performance can be obtained by user normalization. To see the complementary effect of the phoneme-based models, the classifiers were combined at a decision level with a Hidden Markov Model (HMM) classifier built from spectral features. The improvement was 5.7% absolute (10.4% relative), reaching 60.3% accuracy in 7-class and 71.0% in 4-class classification.