Hi! I'm Pablo Arias Sarah, a French/Colombian Postdoctoral researcher working at the University of Glasgow, in the School of Neuroscience and Psychology, and at Lund University, in the Cognitive Science lab, in Sweden. Lately, I've been trying to hack human social interaction mechanisms using real time voice/face transformations. To do this, we are developing a new videoconference experimental platform called DuckSoup, which will allow researchers to manipulate participants' voice and face in real time during social interactions.

I hold a a PhD in cognitive science from Sorbonne University, a Master of Engineering in digital technologies and multimedia from Polytech' Nantes, and a Master of Science in acoustics, signal processing and computer science applied to sound, from IRCAM. You can find a complete list of my publications here or follow me on twitter to keep up to date with my latest work.


Date Description
Upcoming in 2023 We will release our new experimental platform DuckSoup in 2023 🗓. DuckSoup is an opensource videoconference platform allowing researchers to manipulate participants' facial and vocal attributes in real time during social interactions. If you are interested in collecting large, synchronised & multicultural human social interaction data sets get in touch! 🧞‍♂️
November 2022 We won the VR grant application from the Swedish Research Council to develop our new platform DuckSoup!
October 2022 Moving to Scotland to start a new position as Marie Curie Fellow in Glasgow University in the School of Neuroscience and Psychology department with Philippe Schyns and Rachael Jack. Super psyched! 🤩
June 2022 I won a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship for my proposal SINA (Studying Social Interactions with Audiovisual Transformations). In collaboration with Rachael Jack, Philippe Schyns (Glasgow University) and Petter Johansson (Lund Unviersity)! 💣
June 2021 We won the Sorbonne Univeristy "Emergence" call with our REVOLT (Revealing human bias with real time vocal deep fakes) proposal, in collaboration with Nicolas Obin (SU) 💥.
Sept 2019 I'm starting a new postdoctoral position at Lund University Cognitive Science in Sweden to work with Petter Johannsson and Lars Hall in the Choice Blindeness lab! We aim to create unprecedented methodological tools to study human social interaction mechanisms.
Dec 2018 Defended my PhD thesis entitled The cognition of auditory smiles: a computational approach", which was evaluated by an inspring jury composed of Tecumseh Fitch (Univ. Viena), Rachael Jack (Univ. Glasgow), Catherine Pelachaud (Sorbonne University), Martine Gavaret> (Paris Descartes), Julie Grezes and Pascal Belin (Univ. Aix Marseille), Patrick Susini (IRCAM) and Jean-Julien Aucouturier (CNRS).


December, 2021

Facial mimicry in the congenitally blind

We have a new article out in Current Biology! We show that congenitally blind individuals facially imitate smiles heard in speech despite having never seen a facial expression. This demonstrates that the development of facial mimicry does not depend on visual learning and that imitation is not a mere visuo-motor process but a flexible mechanism deployed across sensory inputs. Check the full article here. Or check this twitter thread explaining the findings.

January, 2021

Beyond correlation: acoustic transformation methods for the experimental study of emotional voice and speech

We have a new article out in Emotion Review! In this article we present the methodological advantages of using stimulus manipulation techniques for the experimental study of emotions. We give several examples using such computational models to uncover cognitive mechanisms, and argue that such stimulus manipulation techniques can allow researchers to make causal inferences between stimulus features and participant's behavioral, physiological and neural responses.

April, 2018

Auditory smiles trigger unconscious facial imitation

We have a new article out in Current Biology 🥳 !! In this article we modeled the auditory consequences of smiles in speech and showed that such auditory smiles can trigger facial imitation in listeners even in the absence of visual cues. Interestingly, these reactions occur even when participants do not explicitly detect the smiles.

January, 2018

Uncovering mental representations of smiled speech using reverse correlation.

New article out in JASA-EL! We uncovered the spectral cues underlying the perceptual processing of smiles in speech using reverse correlation. The analyses revealed that listeners rely on robust spectral representations that specifically encode vowel’s formants. These findings demonstrate the causal role played by formants in the perception of smiles and present a novel method to estimate the spectral bases of high-level (e.g., emotional/social/paralinguistic) speech representations.