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The role of perceptual learning in emotional vocalizations [Abstract]

Sauter, D., Crasborn, O., & Haun, D. B. M. (2010). The role of perceptual learning in emotional vocalizations [Abstract]. In C. Douilliez, & C. Humez (Eds.), Third European Conference on Emotion 2010. Proceedings (pp. 39-39). Lille: Université de Lille.
Many studies suggest that emotional signals can be recognized across cultures and modalities. But to what extent are these signals innate and to what extent are they learned? This study investigated whether auditory learning is necessary for the production of recognizable emotional vocalizations by examining the vocalizations produced by people born deaf. Recordings were made of eight congenitally deaf Dutch individuals, who produced non-verbal vocalizations of a range of negative and positive emotions. Perception was examined in a forced-choice task with hearing Dutch listeners (n = 25). Considerable variability was found across emotions, suggesting that auditory learning is more important for the acquisition of certain types of vocalizations than for others. In particular, achievement and surprise sounds were relatively poorly recognized. In contrast, amusement and disgust vocalizations were well recognized, suggesting that for some emotions, recognizable vocalizations can develop without any auditory learning. The implications of these results for models of emotional communication are discussed, and other routes of social learning available to the deaf individuals are considered.
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