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Dynamic influences on auditory emotion recognition by modulations of vocally and musically expressed emotions

English title Dynamic influences on auditory emotion recognition by modulations of vocally and musically expressed emotions
Applicant Frühholz Sascha
Number 182135
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Abteilung für Kognitive Neurowissenschaften Psychologisches Institut Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.04.2019 - 31.03.2023
Approved amount 803'625.00
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Keywords (7)

brain imaging; vocal affect; musical emotions; neural network; emotion; human voice; auditory perception

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Menschen benutzen die Stimme als auch Musik um Emotionen über den akustischen Klang dieser Signale an andere Menschen zu übermitteln. Es sind gerade die akustischen Variationen und Veränderungen in klanglichen Eigenschaften (Tempo, Timbre, Rhythmus, etc.) der Stimme und der Musik, die starke emotionale Reaktionen in Hörern auslösen.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Während die Stimme eine evolutionsbiologisch sehr „alte“ Möglichkeit ist, mit der Menschen als auch Tiere emotionale Signale an andere Mitmenschen oder Artgenossen schicken können, ist die Musik eine sehr „junge“ Errungenschaft des Menschen, um Signale und Emotionen auszudrücken und an andere Menschen zu übermitteln. Obwohl beide Modalitäten (Stimme, Musik) evoltionsgeschichtlich sehr weit auseinanderliegen, teilen doch beide Modailtäten viele Möglichkeiten, um über akustische Variationen Emotionen auszudrücken. Es sind neben den eher statischen akustischen Eigentschaften v.a. die dynamischen Variationen von klanglichen Eigenschaften in diesen beiden Modalitäten (z.B. der ärgerliche Mensch spricht immer lauter und harscher, der Musiker verändert das Tempo und Komplexität seiner Darbietung), die zu den stärksten emotionalen Reaktionen in Hörern führen. In diesem Forschungsprojekt soll dementsprechend untersucht werden, welche dynamischen Variationes es tatsächlich sind, mit denen Sprecher als auch Musiker versuchen in ihrer klanglichen Darstellung die stärksten emotionalen Reaktionen als auch die stärksten Gehirnreaktionen in Hörern hervorrufen.

 

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

Die Dynamik der klanglichen Variationen in Stimme und Musik als Grundlage des emotionalen Ausdrucks ist ein wenig beachtetetes Thema in den Wissenschaften. Das ist erstaunlich, weil wir aus unseren menschlichen Alltag sowie aus musikalischen Darbietungen als Menschen den ständigen Endruck haben, dass es diese klanglichen Variationen sind, die uns emotional am stäksten beeinflussen.

 

Keywords

Stimme; Musik; Gehirn; neurowissenschaftlicche Bildgebung; auditorische Wahrnehmung
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 13.03.2019

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
183711 Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Auditory Perception - Challenging The Human Auditory System at The Limits of Hearing 01.09.2019 SNSF Professorships
157409 Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Auditory Perception - Challenging The Human Auditory System at The Limits of Hearing 01.09.2015 SNSF Professorships
146559 The sound of a voice: processing of acoustic features of vocal emotions in the ascending auditory pathway and higher-level cognitive systems 01.09.2013 Project funding

Abstract

Auditory communication is used to express and perceive information that is important for social interactions. During these interactions, socially important information is often communicated in the acoustic tone of the voice, which is referred to as the nonverbal channel of vocal communication. Besides their voice, humans use tools and instruments to produce acoustic signals as a carrier for socio-emotional information. A striking example of the latter is music and artistic musical performances to convey emotional meaning to an audience. The aim of speakers and musicians is that these emotional expressions are accurately understood by other listeners. Concerning the latter, humans dynamically vary their vocal and musical performance during the expression of emotions in specific ways. The central question of this proposal is thus: How do speakers and musicians dynamically vary their expressed emotions that support the neurocognitive understanding in the brain and cognitive system of listeners? How do listeners psychologically and neurally respond to these vocally and musically expressed emotions? Vocal and musical expressions are investigated in the proposed project together because the tone of a voice and music share many similarities in terms of how emotions are expressed and adaptively changed contingent to the reaction and feedback of listeners. The project proposal aims at introducing varying emotional expressions in a speaker/musician on one side and a listener on the other side. The proposed project consists of two major parts. Project part A includes three different studies (study A1-3) that aim to investigate how vocal speakers vary their emotional tone of the voice that influence the neurocognitive mechanisms in the brain of listeners, and to be accurately understood by these listeners. Besides to overt behavioral changes, listeners usually show consistent activity in the limbic brain system signifying their emotional reactions to vocal emotions, but also in the auditory system, and especially in the auditory cortex, indicating the acoustic analysis of the speaker's voice. Studies A1-3 aim to investigate how speakers vary their emotional vocalizations that maximize the effects of understanding in listeners. Project B (studies B1-3) similarly aims to investigate the signal and connectivity in the limbic system and the auditory cortex of listeners, but now in response to emotional musical performances. A mentioned above, musical emotional expression show similarities to vocal emotional expressions, but there are also some relevant differences. The studies in project part B aim to investigate these commonalities and differences in musical compared to vocal emotional expressions.Altogether, the proposed project is timely and highly relevant, as it includes novel experimental ideas that can produce results that pave the way for a completely new line of research across many disciplines in the future. The proposed project will considerably advance our knowledge about the mechanisms of auditory communication and expression for conveying emotional meaning.
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