Björn Schuller

Also published as: Bjoern Schuller


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A Comparative Cross Language View On Acted Databases Portraying Basic Emotions Utilising Machine Learning
Felix Burkhardt | Anabell Hacker | Uwe Reichel | Hagen Wierstorf | Florian Eyben | Björn Schuller
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Since several decades emotional databases have been recorded by various laboratories. Many of them contain acted portrays of Darwin’s famous “big four” basic emotions. In this paper, we investigate in how far a selection of them are comparable by two approaches: on the one hand modeling similarity as performance in cross database machine learning experiments and on the other by analyzing a manually picked set of four acoustic features that represent different phonetic areas. It is interesting to see in how far specific databases (we added a synthetic one) perform well as a training set for others while some do not. Generally speaking, we found indications for both similarity as well as specificiality across languages.

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Nkululeko: A Tool For Rapid Speaker Characteristics Detection
Felix Burkhardt | Johannes Wagner | Hagen Wierstorf | Florian Eyben | Björn Schuller
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

We present advancements with a software tool called Nkululeko, that lets users perform (semi-) supervised machine learning experiments in the speaker characteristics domain. It is based on audformat, a format for speech database metadata description. Due to an interface based on configurable templates, it supports best practise and very fast setup of experiments without the need to be proficient in the underlying language: Python. The paper explains the handling of Nkululeko and presents two typical experiments: comparing the expert acoustic features with artificial neural net embeddings for emotion classification and speaker age regression.

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SyntAct: A Synthesized Database of Basic Emotions
Felix Burkhardt | Florian Eyben | Björn Schuller
Proceedings of the Workshop on Dataset Creation for Lower-Resourced Languages within the 13th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Speech emotion recognition is in the focus of research since several decades and has many applications. One problem is sparse data for supervised learning. One way to tackle this problem is the synthesis of data with emotion simulating speech synthesis approaches. We present a synthesized database of five basic emotions and neutral expression based on rule based manipulation for a diphone synthesizer which we release to the public. The database has been validated in several machine learning experiments as a training set to detect emotional expression from natural speech data. The scripts to generate such a database have been made open source and could be used to aid speech emotion recognition for a low resourced language, as MBROLA supports 35 languages


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Uncertainty Aware Review Hallucination for Science Article Classification
Korbinian Friedl | Georgios Rizos | Lukas Stappen | Madina Hasan | Lucia Specia | Thomas Hain | Björn Schuller
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL-IJCNLP 2021


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Contextual Bidirectional Long Short-Term Memory Recurrent Neural Network Language Models: A Generative Approach to Sentiment Analysis
Amr Mousa | Björn Schuller
Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Volume 1, Long Papers

Traditional learning-based approaches to sentiment analysis of written text use the concept of bag-of-words or bag-of-n-grams, where a document is viewed as a set of terms or short combinations of terms disregarding grammar rules or word order. Novel approaches de-emphasize this concept and view the problem as a sequence classification problem. In this context, recurrent neural networks (RNNs) have achieved significant success. The idea is to use RNNs as discriminative binary classifiers to predict a positive or negative sentiment label at every word position then perform a type of pooling to get a sentence-level polarity. Here, we investigate a novel generative approach in which a separate probability distribution is estimated for every sentiment using language models (LMs) based on long short-term memory (LSTM) RNNs. We introduce a novel type of LM using a modified version of bidirectional LSTM (BLSTM) called contextual BLSTM (cBLSTM), where the probability of a word is estimated based on its full left and right contexts. Our approach is compared with a BLSTM binary classifier. Significant improvements are observed in classifying the IMDB movie review dataset. Further improvements are achieved via model combination.


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Assessing the Prosody of Non-Native Speakers of English: Measures and Feature Sets
Eduardo Coutinho | Florian Hönig | Yue Zhang | Simone Hantke | Anton Batliner | Elmar Nöth | Björn Schuller
Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'16)

In this paper, we describe a new database with audio recordings of non-native (L2) speakers of English, and the perceptual evaluation experiment conducted with native English speakers for assessing the prosody of each recording. These annotations are then used to compute the gold standard using different methods, and a series of regression experiments is conducted to evaluate their impact on the performance of a regression model predicting the degree of naturalness of L2 speech. Further, we compare the relevance of different feature groups modelling prosody in general (without speech tempo), speech rate and pauses modelling speech tempo (fluency), voice quality, and a variety of spectral features. We also discuss the impact of various fusion strategies on performance. Overall, our results demonstrate that the prosody of non-native speakers of English as L2 can be reliably assessed using supra-segmental audio features; prosodic features seem to be the most important ones.

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Introducing the Weighted Trustability Evaluator for Crowdsourcing Exemplified by Speaker Likability Classification
Simone Hantke | Erik Marchi | Björn Schuller
Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'16)

Crowdsourcing is an arising collaborative approach applicable among many other applications to the area of language and speech processing. In fact, the use of crowdsourcing was already applied in the field of speech processing with promising results. However, only few studies investigated the use of crowdsourcing in computational paralinguistics. In this contribution, we propose a novel evaluator for crowdsourced-based ratings termed Weighted Trustability Evaluator (WTE) which is computed from the rater-dependent consistency over the test questions. We further investigate the reliability of crowdsourced annotations as compared to the ones obtained with traditional labelling procedures, such as constrained listening experiments in laboratories or in controlled environments. This comparison includes an in-depth analysis of obtainable classification performances. The experiments were conducted on the Speaker Likability Database (SLD) already used in the INTERSPEECH Challenge 2012, and the results lend further weight to the assumption that crowdsourcing can be applied as a reliable annotation source for computational paralinguistics given a sufficient number of raters and suited measurements of their reliability.

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SenticNet 4: A Semantic Resource for Sentiment Analysis Based on Conceptual Primitives
Erik Cambria | Soujanya Poria | Rajiv Bajpai | Bjoern Schuller
Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers

An important difference between traditional AI systems and human intelligence is the human ability to harness commonsense knowledge gleaned from a lifetime of learning and experience to make informed decisions. This allows humans to adapt easily to novel situations where AI fails catastrophically due to a lack of situation-specific rules and generalization capabilities. Commonsense knowledge also provides background information that enables humans to successfully operate in social situations where such knowledge is typically assumed. Since commonsense consists of information that humans take for granted, gathering it is an extremely difficult task. Previous versions of SenticNet were focused on collecting this kind of knowledge for sentiment analysis but they were heavily limited by their inability to generalize. SenticNet 4 overcomes such limitations by leveraging on conceptual primitives automatically generated by means of hierarchical clustering and dimensionality reduction.


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The Munich Biovoice Corpus: Effects of Physical Exercising, Heart Rate, and Skin Conductance on Human Speech Production
Björn Schuller | Felix Friedmann | Florian Eyben
Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'14)

We introduce a spoken language resource for the analysis of impact that physical exercising has on human speech production. In particular, the database provides heart rate and skin conductance measurement information alongside the audio recordings. It contains recordings from 19 subjects in a relaxed state and after exercising. The audio material includes breathing, sustained vowels, and read text. Further, we describe pre-extracted audio-features from our openSMILE feature extractor together with baseline performances for the recognition of high and low heart rate using these features. The baseline results clearly show the feasibility of automatic estimation of heart rate from the human voice, in particular from sustained vowels. Both regression - in order to predict the exact heart rate value - and a binary classification setting for high and low heart rate classes are investigated. Finally, we give tendencies on feature group relevance in the named contexts of heart rate estimation and skin conductivity estimation.


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CINEMO — A French Spoken Language Resource for Complex Emotions: Facts and Baselines
Björn Schuller | Riccardo Zaccarelli | Nicolas Rollet | Laurence Devillers
Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'10)

The CINEMO corpus of French emotional speech provides a richly annotated resource to help overcome the apparent lack of learning and testing speech material for complex, i.e. blended or mixed emotions. The protocol for its collection was dubbing selected emotional scenes from French movies. 51 speakers are contained and the total speech time amounts to 2 hours and 13 minutes and 4k speech chunks after segmentation. Extensive labelling was carried out in 16 categories for major and minor emotions and in 6 continuous dimensions. In this contribution we give insight into the corpus statistics focusing in particular on the topic of complex emotions, and provide benchmark recognition results obtained in exemplary large feature space evaluations. In the result the labelling oft he collected speech clearly demonstrates that a complex handling of emotion seems needed. Further, the automatic recognition experiments provide evidence that the automatic recognition of blended emotions appears to be feasible.