What Makes a Speaker Charismatic? Producing and Perceiving Charismatic Speech

Abstract: Charisma was defined by Max Weber as “a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities … not accessible to the ordinary person, but … regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary” on which basis “the individual concerned is treated as a leader” (Weber ‘47). In prior work we examined individual differences correlated with country of origin and political leanings in production and perception of political speech. More recently we have investigated gender differences in production and perception and how raters differ depending upon their level of education, personality traits, and their own speaking style. Currently we are examining political speech again, from participants in the Democratic presidential contest, a more gender-balanced group than in the past, as a way to investigate gender differences in political speech production and perception.

Bio: Julia Hirschberg is Percy K. and Vida L. W. Hudson Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University (department chair from 2012-2018).  She previously worked at Bell Laboratories and AT&T Labs on text-to-speech synthesis (TTs) and then created the first HCI Research Department.   She has served on the ACL executive board, the ISCA board (2005-7 as president), the CRA-WP board, the NAACL executive board, the CRA Executive Board, the AAAI Council, and the IEEE SLTC.  She was editor of Computational Linguistics and Speech Communication and is a fellow of AAAI, ISCA, ACL, ACM, and IEEE, and a member of the NAE, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.  She received the IEEE James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award, the ISCA Medal for Scientific Achievement and the ISCA Special Service Medal. She has worked for diversity for many years at AT&T and Columbia. She studies speech and NLP, currently TTS, false information on social media and its intent, multimodal humor and radicalization, and deceptive, trusted, emotional, and charismatic speech.