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  Is laughter a better vocal change detector than a growl?

Pinheiro, A. P., Barros, C., Vasconcelos, M., Obermeier, C., & Kotz, S. A. (2017). Is laughter a better vocal change detector than a growl? Cortex, 94, 233-248. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2017.03.018.

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Pinheiro, Ana P.1, 2, Author
Barros, Carla 2, Author
Vasconcelos, Margarida2, Author
Obermeier, Christian3, Author              
Kotz, Sonja A.3, 4, Author              
1Faculty of Psychology, University of Lisbon, Portugal, ou_persistent22              
2Neuropsychophysiology Lab, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal, ou_persistent22              
3Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634551              
4Department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Maastricht University, the Netherlands, ou_persistent22              


Free keywords: Beta oscillations; Emotion; Mismatch negativity; Prediction error; Voice
 Abstract: The capacity to predict what should happen next and to minimize any discrepancy between an expected and an actual sensory input (prediction error) is a central aspect of perception. Particularly in vocal communication, the effective prediction of an auditory input that informs the listener about the emotionality of a speaker is critical. What is currently unknown is how the perceived valence of an emotional vocalization affects the capacity to predict and detect a change in the auditory input. This question was probed in a combined event-related potential (ERP) and time-frequency analysis approach. Specifically, we examined the brain response to standards (Repetition Positivity) and to deviants (Mismatch Negativity - MMN), as well as the anticipatory response to the vocal sounds (pre-stimulus beta oscillatory power). Short neutral, happy (laughter), and angry (growls) vocalizations were presented both as standard and deviant stimuli in a passive oddball listening task while participants watched a silent movie and were instructed to ignore the vocalizations. MMN amplitude was increased for happy compared to neutral and angry vocalizations. The Repetition Positivity was enhanced for happy standard vocalizations. Induced pre-stimulus upper beta power was increased for happy vocalizations, and predicted the modulation of the standard Repetition Positivity. These findings indicate enhanced sensory prediction for positive vocalizations such as laughter. Together, the results suggest that positive vocalizations are more effective predictors in social communication than angry and neutral ones, possibly due to their high social significance.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2017-01-262016-09-192017-03-272017-04-112017-07
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2017.03.018
PMID: 28521155
Other: Epub 2017
 Degree: -



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Project name : -
Grant ID : IF/00334/2012 ; PTDC/PSI-PCL/116626/2010 ; PTDC/MHN-PCN/3606/2012 ; PTDC/MHC-PCN/0101/2014
Funding program : -
Funding organization : Science and Technology Foundation
Project name : FEDER
Grant ID : -
Funding program : European Regional Development Fund
Funding organization : European Commission (EC)
Project name : -
Grant ID : -
Funding program : QREN (National Strategic Reference Framework
Funding organization : European Commission (EC)
Project name : -
Grant ID : -
Funding program : COMPETE (Operational Programme ‘Thematic Factors of Competitiveness’)
Funding organization : European Commission (EC)

Source 1

Title: Cortex
  Other : Cortex
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Milan [etc.] : Elsevier Masson SAS
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 94 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 233 - 248 Identifier: ISSN: 0010-9452
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925393344