The impacts of aging on the comprehension of affective prosody: A systematic review.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Appl Neuropsychol Adult, p.1-16 (2023)


<p>Recent clinical reports have suggested a possible decline in the ability to understand emotions in speech (affective prosody comprehension) with aging. The present study aims to further examine the differences in performance between older and younger adults in terms of affective prosody comprehension. Following a recent cognitive model dividing affective prosody comprehension into perceptual and lexico-semantic components, a cognitive approach targeting these components was adopted. The influence of emotions' valence and category on aging performance was also investigated. A systematic review of the literature was carried out using six databases. Twenty-one articles, presenting 25 experiments, were included. All experiments analyzed affective prosody comprehension performance of older versus younger adults. The results confirmed that older adults' performance in identifying emotions in speech was reduced compared to younger adults. The results also brought out the fact that affective prosody comprehension abilities could be modulated by the emotion category but not by the emotional valence. Various theories account for this difference in performance, namely auditory perception, brain aging, and socioemotional selectivity theory suggesting that older people tend to neglect negative emotions. However, the explanation of the underlying deficits of the affective prosody decline is still limited.</p>

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