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Title: Emotion recognition in the human face and voice
Authors: Kuhn, Lisa Katharina
Advisors: Wydell, T
Garrido, L
Keywords: Supramodal;Developmental;Cross-cultural;ERP;Emotions
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: At a perceptual level, faces and voices consist of very different sensory inputs and therefore, information processing from one modality can be independent of information processing from another modality (Adolphs & Tranel, 1999). However, there may also be a shared neural emotion network that processes stimuli independent of modality (Peelen, Atkinson, & Vuilleumier, 2010) or emotions may be processed on a more abstract cognitive level, based on meaning rather than on perceptual signals. This thesis therefore aimed to examine emotion recognition across two separate modalities in a within-subject design, including a cognitive Chapter 1 with 45 British adults, a developmental Chapter 2 with 54 British children as well as a cross-cultural Chapter 3 with 98 German and British children, and 78 German and British adults. Intensity ratings as well as choice reaction times and correlations of confusion analyses of emotions across modalities were analysed throughout. Further, an ERP Chapter investigated the time-course of emotion recognition across two modalities. Highly correlated rating profiles of emotions in faces and voices were found which suggests a similarity in emotion recognition across modalities. Emotion recognition in primary-school children improved with age for both modalities although young children relied mainly on faces. British as well as German participants showed comparable patterns for rating basic emotions, but subtle differences were also noted and Germans perceived emotions as less intense than British. Overall, behavioural results reported in the present thesis are consistent with the idea of a general, more abstract level of emotion processing which may act independently of modality. This could be based, for example, on a shared emotion brain network or some more general, higher-level cognitive processes which are activated across a range of modalities. Although emotion recognition abilities are already evident during childhood, this thesis argued for a contribution of ‘nurture’ to emotion mechanisms as recognition was influenced by external factors such as development and culture.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Psychology
Dept of Life Sciences Theses

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