Vocal synchrony as a coregulation indicator of attachment bonds

Harma, Mehmet
This dissertation aims to explore the concept of coregulation in adulthood based on the analyses of vocal cues in conversations. Moderators which potentially affect vocal coordination between romantic partners were also examined. Twenty-four heterosexual dating couples (Mage = 21.25; SD = 1.03) from Cornell University were recruited for the Study-1. Participants communicated with their romantic and stranger partner in a balanced order. Their conversations were recorded and vocal features were extracted. Granger-causality analyses yielded that close partner conversations were bidirectional, signifying that female participants’ previous F0 responses caused male participants’ subsequent F0 responses and vice versa. In the stranger partner conversations, however, only female participants’ previous F0 responses caused male participants’ subsequent F0 responses, implying that there was unidirectional association between stranger partners. Two-level dyadic HLM analysis demonstrated that there was higher level of synchrony in the conversations of close partners than stranger partners. Furthermore, HLM analysis indicated that the observed synchrony was moderated by attachment-related anxiety and relationship satisfaction. Study-2 examined whether or not the affectionate components of conversations with a close partner could be accurately estimated from intonations only. Participants (N = 156, Mage= 34.75yrs, SD=13.06) were asked to guess whether the pairs of speakers were romantic partners or strangers. They rated 1-minute recordings without verbal content after low-pass filtering applied. The analysis using signal detection theory revealed that close partner vocalizations were recognized above the chance. In sum, findings suggest that coregulation process can be observed at the vocal level using synchronous speech pattern and this process is moderated by attachment anxiety and relationship satisfaction. Implications for attachment-in-the-making between romantic partners and the literature on behavioral mimicry were discussed.
Citation Formats
M. Harma, “Vocal synchrony as a coregulation indicator of attachment bonds,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2014.