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Emotional Prosody Communication In Long-Term Abstained Alcoholics

Harmsworth, Chelsea (2015) Emotional Prosody Communication In Long-Term Abstained Alcoholics. Masters thesis, University of Essex.


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Emotional prosody difficulties have been found in recently detoxified alcoholics. Through three experiments, it was explored if these production and perception deficits per se continue even after a period of long-term abstinence. In Study one, 15 dry abstained alcoholics (AA) and 15 aged/educational matched healthy controls were asked to produce sentences in the six basic emotions plus neutral whilst being recorded. Results demonstrated that at an acoustic level pitch was a cue that AA struggled to modulate emotionally compared to healthy controls. The aim of Study 2 was to firstly explore on a perception level whether AA emotional utterances from Study 1 were perceived differently from those of healthy controls. A further goal was to explore how voice qualities of AA compared with healthy controls. To this aim, twenty-one naïve listeners heard randomly selected recordings from Study 1 and were asked to judge the emotion in a force-choice paradigm followed by a judgment of the speakers voice quality. Results showed naïve listeners find it more difficult to judge AA emotional utterances compared to those of healthy controls supporting acoustic results from Study 1. Listeners also rated AA voice quality as huskier, flat and less emotionally expressive than healthy controls. Finally in Study 3 abstained alcoholics perception of emotional prosody was investigated. Fifteen AA and 15 aged/educational matched healthy controls heard emotional utterances from Study 1 and were asked to identify the emotion heard in the tone of voice. Analyses showed that AA performed worse than healthy controls at judging emotional prosody. This applies to both stimuli uttered by AA or healthy controls. All these results combined demonstrate that abstained alcoholics show an emotional prosody deficit at the production and perception level. Potential reasons for this deficit are further discussed in this thesis.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Chelsea Harmsworth
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2016 16:37
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2016 16:37

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