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J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2008 Aug;34(4):1017-30. doi: 10.1037/0096-1523.34.4.1017.

Communicating emotion: linking affective prosody and word meaning.

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Department of Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


The present study investigated the role of emotional tone of voice in the perception of spoken words. Listeners were presented with words that had either a happy, sad, or neutral meaning. Each word was spoken in a tone of voice (happy, sad, or neutral) that was congruent, incongruent, or neutral with respect to affective meaning, and naming latencies were collected. Across experiments, tone of voice was either blocked or mixed with respect to emotional meaning. The results suggest that emotional tone of voice facilitated linguistic processing of emotional words in an emotion-congruent fashion. These findings suggest that information about emotional tone is used in the processing of linguistic content influencing the recognition and naming of spoken words in an emotion-congruent manner.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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