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Understanding speaker attitudes from prosody by adults with Parkinson's disease.

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

J Neuropsychol, Volume 2, Issue Pt 2, p.415-30 (2008)

Keywords:

Acoustic Stimulation, Aged, Analysis of Variance, Attitude, Comprehension, Confidence Intervals, Emotions, Female, Humans, Linguistics, Male, Middle Aged, Neuropsychological Tests, Parkinson Disease, Social Perception, Speech Acoustics

Abstract:

<p>The ability to interpret vocal (prosodic) cues during social interactions can be disrupted by Parkinson's disease, with notable effects on how emotions are understood from speech. This study investigated whether PD patients who have emotional prosody deficits exhibit further difficulties decoding the attitude of a speaker from prosody. Vocally inflected but semantically nonsensical 'pseudo-utterances' were presented to listener groups with and without PD in two separate rating tasks. Task I required participants to rate how confident a speaker sounded from their voice and Task 2 required listeners to rate how polite the speaker sounded for a comparable set of pseudo-utterances. The results showed that PD patients were significantly less able than HC participants to use prosodic cues to differentiate intended levels of speaker confidence in speech, although the patients could accurately detect the politelimpolite attitude of the speaker from prosody in most cases. Our data suggest that many PD patients fail to use vocal cues to effectively infer a speaker's emotions as well as certain attitudes in speech such as confidence, consistent with the idea that the basal ganglia play a role in the meaningful processing of prosodic sequences in spoken language (Pell & Leonard, 2003).</p>

Funding / Support / Partners

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