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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The human voice is a highly regarded tool for conveying and interpreting emotions, essentially to relay one’s intentions while communicating with others. During social discourse, our autonomic nervous system evokes physiological changes within our body, allowing us to project our emotional state through alterations of vocal quality, pitch, frequency, and intensity. Our current understanding of the neural mechanisms involved in processing emotional information has come primarily through studying the neural response to visual stimuli, specifically facial expressions, by means of functional neuroimaging and lesion studies. Recently, there has been a surge of inquiry as to how emotions are perceived and processed via other sensory modalities, most notably, the auditory system. The aim of this chapter is to outline the neural structures that are known to be involved with processing vocal emotional information, and to address and discuss the inconsistencies found in both lesion and neuroimaging studies. Many of these discrepancies can be attributed to differences of experimental design, as the literature continues to expose a complexity to emotional processing that necessitates a number of valid controls.

Keywords: emotion, amygdala, fear conditioning, prosody, vocal processing

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