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Recognizing Emotions in a Foreign Language

Pell, Marc D and Monetta, Laura and Paulmann, Silke and Kotz, Sonja A (2009) 'Recognizing Emotions in a Foreign Language.' Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 33 (2). pp. 107-120. ISSN 0191-5886

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Abstract

Expressions of basic emotions (joy, sadness, anger, fear, disgust) can be recognized pan-culturally from the face and it is assumed that these emotions can be recognized from a speaker's voice, regardless of an individual's culture or linguistic ability. Here, we compared how monolingual speakers of Argentine Spanish recognize basic emotions from pseudo-utterances ("nonsense speech") produced in their native language and in three foreign languages (English, German, Arabic). Results indicated that vocal expressions of basic emotions could be decoded in each language condition at accuracy levels exceeding chance, although Spanish listeners performed significantly better overall in their native language ("in-group advantage"). Our findings argue that the ability to understand vocally-expressed emotions in speech is partly independent of linguistic ability and involves universal principles, although this ability is also shaped by linguistic and cultural variables.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Emotional speech processing; Affective prosody; Vocal expression; Cultural factors; Cross-linguistic group study
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2011 20:40
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 11:31
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/1450

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