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  Humans recognize emotional arousal in vocalizations across all classes of terrestrial vertebrates: Evidence for acoustic universals

Filippi, P., Congdon, J. V., Hoang, J., Bowling, D. L., Reber, S. A., Pasukonis, A., et al. (2017). Humans recognize emotional arousal in vocalizations across all classes of terrestrial vertebrates: Evidence for acoustic universals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284: 20170990. doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.0990.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-A622-2 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-B0A9-0
Genre: Journal Article

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Data are available from the Dryad Digital Repository (Supplementary material)
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https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3825532.v4 (Supplementary material)
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 Creators:
Filippi, Piera1, 2, 3, 4, Author
Congdon, Jenna V.5, Author
Hoang, John5, Author
Bowling, Daniel L.6, Author
Reber, Stephan A.6, Author
Pasukonis, Andrius6, Author
Hoeschele, Marisa6, Author
Ocklenburg, Sebastian7, Author
De Boer, Bart1, Author
Sturdy, Christopher B.5, 8, Author
Newen, Albert2, 9, Author
Güntürkün, Onur2, 7, Author
Affiliations:
1Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, ou_persistent22              
2Center for Mind, Brain and Cognitive Evolution, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsstr. 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany, ou_persistent22              
3Brain and Language Research Institute, Aix-Marseille University, Avenue Pasteur 5, 13604 Aix-en-Provence, France, ou_persistent22              
4Language and Cognition Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society, Nijmegen, NL, ou_792548              
5Department of Psychology, University of Alberta, P217 Biological Sciences Building, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, ou_persistent22              
6Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria, ou_persistent22              
7Department of Biopsychology, Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, Universitatsstr. 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany, ou_persistent22              
8Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute, University of Alberta, 4-120 Katz Group Center, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E1, ou_persistent22              
9Department of Philosophy II, Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, Universitatsstr. 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany, ou_persistent22              

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 Abstract: Writing over a century ago, Darwin hypothesized that vocal expression of emotion dates back to our earliest terrestrial ancestors. If this hypothesis is true, we should expect to find cross-species acoustic universals in emotional vocalizations. Studies suggest that acoustic attributes of aroused vocalizations are shared across many mammalian species, and that humans can use these attributes to infer emotional content. But do these acoustic attributes extend to non-mammalian vertebrates? In this study, we asked human participants to judge the emotional content of vocalizations of nine vertebrate species representing three different biological classes—Amphibia, Reptilia (non-aves and aves) and Mammalia. We found that humans are able to identify higher levels of arousal in vocalizations across all species. This result was consistent across different language groups (English, German and Mandarin native speakers), suggesting that this ability is biologically rooted in humans. Our findings indicate that humans use multiple acoustic parameters to infer relative arousal in vocalizations for each species, but mainly rely on fundamental frequency and spectral centre of gravity to identify higher arousal vocalizations across species. These results suggest that fundamental mechanisms of vocal emotional expression are shared among vertebrates and could represent a homologous signalling system.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2017-07-26
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
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 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0990
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Title: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  Abbreviation : Proc. R. Soc. B
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: London : Royal Society
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 284 Sequence Number: 20170990 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 0962-8452
CoNE: /journals/resource/110975500577295_2