Can We Match Voices to the Faces of Strangers?
Grade Level: 7th-9th; Type: Physical Science
Discover whether people can match a face to a voice.
Is it possible for us to match a voice to a face? If yes, why might that be the case?
- Voice recorder with playback
- Pen/paper for notes
- Gather test subjects, the more the better.
- Photograph the faces of ten volunteers.
- Record the voices of each volunteer. Just have them say something random. It is best to control the experiment by having everyone say the same thing. Remember to write down whose face goes with what voice or even you might forget!
- Number the 10 photos from 1-10.
- Tape the photos of the 10 volunteers randomly on a wall.
- Seat your test subjects in front of the photos. Be sure the test subjects do not know the volunteers! In other words, both the voices and the faces should be those of strangers.
- Play the first voice on the recording. Have your test subject try to match the voice to a face on the wall. Write down the result.
- Repeat steps 3-5 for all your test subjects.
- Examine your results. Do you see any patterns?
Terms/Concepts: vocals; voices; facial recognition; facial features
- Howard, D.M., and Murphy, D.T.M. (2009).  Voice science acoustics and recording, San Diego: Plural Press.
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