Did you ever think your 'oooh' and 'whoops' could actually mean a lot more than you imagine it does? Well, a new study has found that non-verbal exclamations that we use on a daily basis to express everything from embarrassment to surprise could actually convey up to 24 different emotions. University of California (UC), Berkeley in the US conducted a survey on listener responses to over 2000 non-verbal exclamations known as “vocal bursts”.
A few previous studies conducted had found that people recognised as many as 13 emotions after listening to vocal bursts. The new study recorded vocal bursts from 56 male and female professional actors and non-actors from the US, India, Kenya and Singapore. “This study is the most extensive demonstration of our rich emotional vocal repertoire, involving brief signals of upwards of two dozen emotions as intriguing as awe, adoration, interest, sympathy and embarrassment,” said Dacher Keltner, a professor at UC Berkeley.
For the second part of the study, vocal bursts were recorded by people who were made to watch videos that included babies falling, puppies getting hugged, magic tricks etc. This time, 88 adults of all ages tried to recognise the emotions related to the burst and it was found yet again that as many as two dozen emotions could be recognised. “These results show that emotional expressions colour our social interactions with spirited declarations of our inner feelings that are difficult to fake, and that our friends, co-workers, and loved ones rely on to decipher our true commitments,” a researcher said. Stay tuned for more updates.