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Semiotic aspects of human nonverbal vocalizations: A functional imaging study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kai Alter

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Abstract

Humans produce a variety of distinct nonverbal vocalizations. Whereas affective bursts, for example, laughter, have an intrinsic communicative role bound to social behavior, vegetative sounds, for example, snoring, just signal autonomic-physiological states. However, the latter events, for example, belching, may also be used as intentional communicative actions (vocal gestures), characterized by an arbitrary culture-dependent sound-to-meaning (semiotic) relationship, comparable to verbal utterances. Using a decision task, hemodynamic responses to affective bursts, vegetative sounds, and vocal gestures were measured by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging. Affective bursts elicited activation of anterior left superior temporal gyrus. In contrast, arbitrary vocal gestures yielded hemodynamic reactions of the left temporo-parietal junction. Conceivably, a listener's interpretation of nonverbal utterances as intentional events depends upon a left-hemisphere temporo-parietal 'auditory-to-meaning interface' related to our mechanisms of speech processing. © 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Dietrich S, Hertrich I, Alter K, Ischebeck A, Ackermann H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: NeuroReport

Year: 2007

Volume: 18

Issue: 18

Pages: 1891-1894

Print publication date: 01/12/2007

ISSN (print): 0959-4965

ISSN (electronic): 1473-558X

Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/WNR.0b013e3282f290df

DOI: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e3282f290df

PubMed id: 18007181


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