Effects of alcohol on speech

David Pisoni, Keith Johnson, Robert H. Bernacki

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


In this paper the authors summarize previous research that assessed the effects of alcohol on speech production and discuss an analysis of the speech produced by the captain of the Exxon Valdez recorded at several points around the time of the accident at Prince William Sound. Analysis of a small number of tokens of speech recorded before, during and after the accident suggests that the captain was probably intoxicated when his ship ran aground. Large changes in pitch, duration and spectral characteristics of several classes of speech sounds suggest impairment in the fine motor control necessary for the production of speech. These findings are consistent with the results from an earlier laboratory study in which the talkers were intoxicated to known BAL values. The results are discussed in terms of the legal aspects of using speech analysis techniques to assess sensory-motor impairment from alcohol.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Human Factors Society
PublisherPubl by Human Factors Soc Inc
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 1991
EventProceedings of the Human Factors Society 35th Annual Meeting Part 1 (of 2) - San Francisco, CA, USA
Duration: Sep 2 1991Sep 6 1991


OtherProceedings of the Human Factors Society 35th Annual Meeting Part 1 (of 2)
CitySan Francisco, CA, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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    Pisoni, D., Johnson, K., & Bernacki, R. H. (1991). Effects of alcohol on speech. In Proceedings of the Human Factors Society (Vol. 1, pp. 694-698). Publ by Human Factors Soc Inc.