Effects of emotional prosody on skin conductance responses in French

Author(s): Caterina Petrone, Francesca Carbone and Maud Champagne-Lavau

Abstract

This pilot study investigates the effects of emotional prosody in French, as resulting by listeners’ electrodermal activity. Differently from responses to standard perception tasks, skin conductance responses (SCRs) are automatic, thus allowing evaluating spontaneous reactions of subjects to external stimuli in a non-invasive way. Based on an identification task on 20 listeners, a set of 4 sentences was selected for the skin conductance study. The sentences were composed of words whose meanings were not emotionally laden. They were uttered with four prosodic patterns each conveying four basic emotions (neutral, joy, anger, sadness). The corpus included 36 stimuli, i.e., 4 natural stimuli and 32 stimuli in which the tempo and pitch range of the whole utterances were independently manipulated. In the skin conductance study, 10 listeners rated the arousal and valence of each stimulus a 5-points Likert scale. At the same time, SCRs were recorded. Results collected so far indicate that: (1) emotional prosody has an effect on electrodermal activity, even in absence of visual cues (e.g., images, facial expressions); (2) amplitude of SCRs is triggered by auditory stimuli varying both in valence and intensity and (3) SCRs are modulated by manipulation of the prosodic cues.

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