Dual Development of Affective-Speech-Based Emotion Perception.

Published on Aug 23, 2021in Journal of Genetic Psychology0.923
· DOI :10.1080/00221325.2021.1967270
Shinnosuke Ikeda (Kyoto University)
Studies have shown that when interpreting emotions from speech, adults focus on prosody, while young children focus on lexical content. However, the kind of socio-emotional processing implemented in such emotion perception, as well as how it is developed, remains unclear. The present study examined the development of a dual process in affective-speech-induced emotion perception in 3- and 5-year-old children. Previous studies have suggested that unconscious emotion perception at the gaze level and conscious emotion judgment in response to speakers' emotions develop differently. Children were presented with affective speech, which included inconsistent lexical content and prosody (e.g., saying 'thank you' in an angry tone), and asked to report the speaker's emotions by pointing to the corresponding facial expressions (happy or angry). Additionally, the duration for which children gazed at each facial expression was examined. The results showed that 3-year-old children judged the speaker's emotions based on lexical content more than the 5-year-olds, who used prosody. However, at the gaze level, both the 3- and 5-year-olds focused longer on the facial expressions that matched the prosody. The results suggest that two processes can be observed: unconscious emotion perception, which matches prosody and expression, and assessment of the speaker's emotions by weighting the lexical content and prosody.
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