Inferring Emotions from Speech Prosody: Not So Easy at Age Five

Abstract : Previous research has suggested that children do not rely on prosody to infer a speaker's emotional state because of biases toward lexical content or situational context. We hypothesized that there are actually no such biases and that young children simply have trouble in using emotional prosody. Sixty children from 5 to 13 years of age had to judge the emotional state of a happy or sad speaker and then to verbally explain their judgment. Lexical content and situational context were devoid of emotional valence. Results showed that prosody alone did not enable the children to infer emotions at age 5, and was still not fully mastered at age 13. Instead, they relied on contextual information despite the fact that this cue had no emotional valence. These results support the hypothesis that prosody is difficult to interpret for young children and that this cue plays only a subordinate role up until adolescence to infer others’ emotions.
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https://hal.univ-rennes2.fr/hal-02002664
Contributor : Laurence Leroux <>
Submitted on : Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 6:44:28 PM
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Marc Aguert, Virginie Laval, Agnès Lacroix, Sandrine Gil, Ludovic Le Bigot. Inferring Emotions from Speech Prosody: Not So Easy at Age Five. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2013, 8 (12), pp.e83657. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0083657⟩. ⟨hal-02002664⟩

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