Bestelmeyer PEG, Rouger J, DeBruine LM & Belin P (2010). Auditory adaptation in vocal affect perception. Cognition, 117(2): 217-223. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2010.08.008

Previous research has demonstrated perceptual aftereffects for emotionally expressive faces, but the extent to which they can also be obtained in a different modality is unknown. In two experiments we show for the first time that adaptation to affective, non-linguistic vocalisations elicits significant auditory aftereffects. Adaptation to angry vocalisations caused voices drawn from an anger-fear morphed continuum to sound less angry and more fearful, while adaptation to fearful vocalisations elicited the opposite aftereffect (Experiment 1). We then tested whether adaptation to vocal 'caricatures' of fear or anger increases the aftereffects. We found that original fearful or angry voices and caricatures of these expressions elicited equally strong adaptation effects (Experiment 2). The latter finding suggests that these aftereffects are relatively independent of acoustic properties and occur at high-level processing stages of auditory information processing.

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