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Objectively Quantifying Pediatric Psychiatric Severity Using Artificial Intelligence, Voice Recognition Technology, and Universal Emotions:

10/23/23, 12:00 AM

Background:
Providing Psychotherapy, particularly for youth, is a pressing challenge in the health care system. Traditional methods are resource-intensive, and there is a need for objective benchmarks to guide therapeutic interventions. Automated emotion detection from speech, using artificial intelligence, presents an emerging approach to address these challenges. Speech can carry vital information about emotional states, which can be used to improve mental health care services, especially when the person is suffering.

Objective:
This study aims to develop and evaluate automated methods for detecting the intensity of emotions (anger, fear, sadness, and happiness) in audio recordings of patients’ speech. We also demonstrate the viability of deploying the models. Our model was validated in a previous publication by Alemu et al with limited voice samples. This follow-up study used significantly more voice samples to validate the previous model.

Methods:
We used audio recordings of patients, specifically children with high adverse childhood experience (ACE) scores; the average ACE score was 5 or higher, at the highest risk for chronic disease and social or emotional problems; only 1 in 6 have a score of 4 or above. The patients’ structured voice sample was collected by reading a fixed script. In total, 4 highly trained therapists classified audio segments based on a scoring process of 4 emotions and their intensity levels for each of the 4 different emotions. We experimented with various preprocessing methods, including denoising, voice-activity detection, and diarization. Additionally, we explored various model architectures, including convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and transformers. We trained emotion-specific transformer-based models and a generalized CNN-based model to predict emotion intensities.

10/23/23, 12:00 AM

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