Universal vocal signals of emotion
Sauter, D., Eisner, F., Ekman, P., & Scott, S. K.
Universal vocal signals of emotion. In N. Taatgen, & H. Van Rijn (Eds.
), Proceedings of the 31st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2009)
(pp. 2251-2255). Cognitive Science Society.
Emotional signals allow for the sharing of important
information with conspecifics, for example to warn them of
danger. Humans use a range of different cues to communicate
to others how they feel, including facial, vocal, and gestural
signals. Although much is known about facial expressions of
emotion, less research has focused on affect in the voice. We
compare British listeners to individuals from remote Namibian
villages who have had no exposure to Western culture, and
examine recognition of non-verbal emotional vocalizations,
such as screams and laughs. We show that a number of
emotions can be universally recognized from non-verbal vocal
signals. In addition we demonstrate the specificity of this
pattern, with a set of additional emotions only recognized
within, but not across these cultural groups. Our findings
indicate that a small set of primarily negative emotions have
evolved signals across several modalities, while most positive
emotions are communicated with culture-specific signals.