Hemispheric contributions for processing pitch and speech rate cues to emotion: fMRI data

Chinar Dara; Marc D. Pell, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders; McGill University

To determine the neural mechanisms involved in vocal emotion processing, the current study employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural structures engaged in processing acoustic cues to infer emotional meaning. Two critical acoustic cues – pitch and speech rate – were systematically manipulated and presented in a discrimination task. Results confirmed that a bilateral network constituting frontal and temporal regions is engaged when discriminating vocal emotion expressions; however, we observed greater sensitivity to pitch cues in the right mid superior temporal gyrus/sulcus (STG/STS), whereas activation in both left and right mid STG/STS was observed for speech rate processing.