Sauter, D., Crasborn, O., & Haun, D. B. M. (2010). The role of perceptual learning in emotional vocalizations [Abstract]. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America,128, 2476.
Vocalizations like screams and laughs are used to communicate affective
states, but what acoustic cues in these signals require vocal learning and
which ones are innate? This study investigated the role of auditory learning
in the production of non-verbal emotional vocalizations by examining the
vocalizations produced by people born deaf. Recordings were made of congenitally
deaf Dutch individuals and matched hearing controls, 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), and judgments were analyzed together with acoustic cues, including
envelope, pitch, and spectral measures. Considerable variability was
found across emotions and acoustic cues, and the two types of information
were related for a sub-set of the emotion categories. These results suggest
that auditory learning is less important for the acquisition of certain types of
vocalizations than for others (particularly amusement and relief), and they
also point to a less central role for auditory learning of some acoustic features
in affective non-verbal vocalizations. The implications of these results
for models of vocal emotional communication are discussed.