Dr. Noam Amir

Department of Communication Disorders
חוג למודי הפרעות בתקשורת סגל אקדמי בכיר


Senior Lecturer, Department of Communication Disorders



Dr. Amir received his D.Sc, M.Sc. and B.Sc. from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa, Israel, in the field of Electrical Engineering. He spent 2 years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratoire d'Acoustique de l'Universite du Maine, in Le Mans, France. His research has always been interdisciplinary in nature, on the frontier between acoustics, speech and signal processing. Currently his research interests are the manifestation of emotions and depression in speech, accumulation and analysis of spontaneous speech corpora, various aspects of wave propagation in electromagnetic and acoustic waveguides, and the acoustics of musical instruments.



My lab's interests lie on the frontier between signal processing and human communication in both speech and music. One general field we have been involved in in recent years is the paralinguistic aspect of verbal communication. In this research my colleagues and we have been been exploring two main directions:

  1. Emotion: Production and perception of emotions in speech, mostly in Hebrew, along with several excursions into cross lingual studies – Hebrew/German and Hebrew/Arabic. I’ve been looking at emotions as expressed in many different settings: films, event recollection, interviews, psychotherapy, and acted with conflicting textual and prosodic content.
  2. Pragmatics: Production and perception of word stress (i.e. “I love my cat” vs. “I love my cat”), in Hebrew and Arabic, and lately also the manifestations of lexical stress in Hebrew.


We have also been interested in signal processing aspects of music and musical acoustics for a very long time. Recent works we have participated in have been related to vibrato in the singing voice: quantifying it and relating it to factors such as singer proficiency, vocal warmup and singing style. Situated in the heart of the Middle East, we have become interested in acoustic phonetics of Hebrew and Spoken Arabic. Along with our colleagues, we have studied Hebrew vowels in everyday, connected speech, and in several dialects of Spoken Arabic, which have been studied very little. For example, vowel spaces of a Galilean dialect and the Kfar Kassem dialect are presented in the figure below.


Finally, the perceptual aspects of the subjects above have led us to examine their interaction with psychoacoustic thresholds. Starting with frequency perception thresholds, and now branching into intensity and spectral thresholds, our collaborators and we have been looking at their correlation to perception of of emotion and music.


Recent Publications

A. Batliner, S. Steidl, B. Schuller, D. Seppi, T. Vogt, J. Wagner, L. Devillers, L. Vidrascu, V. Aharonson, L. Kessous, N. Amir, “Whodunnit – Searching for the Most Important Feature Types Signalling Emotion-Related User States in Speech”, Computer Speech and Language, VOl. 25(1), 4-28 (2011).


Amir, O., Engel, M., Shabtai, E., Amir N. Identification of children’s gender and age by listeners. Journal of Voice, 26(3), 314-321 (2012).
M. Inspector, D. Manor, N. Amir, T. Kushnir, A. Karni. A word by any other intonation: FMRI evidence for implicit memory traces for pitch contours of spoken words in adult brains. PLoS ONE, 8(12) (2013).


E. Globerson, N. Amir, O. Golan, L. Kishon, M. Lavidor. Psychoacoustic abilities as predictors of vocal emotion recognition. Attention Perception and Psychophysics, 75, 1799 -1810 (2013).


Amir N, Amir O, Rosenhouse J. Colloquial Arabic vowels in Israel: a comparative acoustic study of two dialects. J Acoust Soc Am. 136:1895-907 (2014).


Globerson E, Amir N, Kishon-Rabin L, Golan O. Prosody recognition in adults with high- functioning autism spectrum disorders: from psychoacoustics to cognition. Autism Res. 8:153-63 (2015).


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