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Psychoacoustic studies on the processing of vocal interjections: how to disentangle lexical and prosodic information?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kai Alter

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Abstract

Both intonation (affective prosody) and lexical meaning of verbal utterances participate in the vocal expression of a speaker's emotional state, an important aspect of human communication. However, it is still a matter of debate how the information of these two 'channels' is integrated during speech perception. In order to further analyze the impact of affective prosody on lexical access, so-called interjections, i.e., short verbal emotional utterances, were investigated. The results of a series of psychoacoustic studies indicate the processing of emotional interjections to be mediated by a divided cognitive mechanism encompassing both lexical access and the encoding of prosodic data. Emotional interjections could be separated into elements with high- or low-lexical content. As concerns the former items, both prosodic and propositional cues have a significant influence upon recognition rates, whereas the processing of the low-lexical cognates rather solely depends upon prosodic information. Incongruencies between lexical and prosodic data structures compromise stimulus identification. Thus, the analysis of utterances characterized by a dissociation of the prosodic and lexical dimension revealed prosody to exert a stronger impact upon listeners' judgments than lexicality. Taken together, these findings indicate that both propositional and prosodic speech components closely interact during speech perception. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Dietrich S, Ackermann H, Szameitat DP, Alter K

Editor(s): S. Anders, G. Ende, M. Junghofer, J. Kissler, D. Wildgruber

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Understanding emotions

Year: 2006

Volume: 156

Pages: 295-302

Print publication date: 01/01/2006

Series Title: Progress in Brain Research

Publisher: Elsevier

Place Published: Netherlands

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0079-6123(06)56016-9

DOI: 10.1016/S0079-6123(06)56016-9

PubMed id: 17015087

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780444521828


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