Correlated expression of the body, face, and voice during character portrayal in actors Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • AbstractActors are required to engage in multimodal modulations of their body, face, and voice in order to create a holistic portrayal of a character during performance. We present here the first trimodal analysis, to our knowledge, of the process of character portrayal in professional actors. The actors portrayed a series of stock characters (e.g., king, bully) that were organized according to a predictive scheme based on the two orthogonal personality dimensions of assertiveness and cooperativeness. We used 3D motion capture technology to analyze the relative expansion/contraction of 6 body segments across the head, torso, arms, and hands. We compared this with previous results for these portrayals for 4 segments of facial expression and the vocal parameters of pitch and loudness. The results demonstrated significant cross-modal correlations for character assertiveness (but not cooperativeness), as manifested collectively in a straightening of the head and torso, expansion of the arms and hands, lowering of the jaw, and a rise in vocal pitch and loudness. These results demonstrate what communication theorists refer to as “multichannel reinforcement”. We discuss this reinforcement in light of both acting theories and theories of human communication more generally.

publication date

  • December 2022