Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 182–191 | Cite as

Similar patterns of age-related differences in emotion recognition from speech and music

  • Petri LaukkaEmail author
  • Patrik N. Juslin
Original Research


Young and old adults’ ability to recognize emotions from vocal expressions and music performances was compared. The stimuli consisted of (a) acted speech (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, and sadness; each posed with both weak and strong emotion intensity), (b) synthesized speech (anger, fear, happiness, and sadness), and (c) short melodies played on the electric guitar (anger, fear, happiness, and sadness; each played with both weak and strong emotion intensity). The listeners’ recognition of discrete emotions and emotion intensity was assessed and the recognition rates were controlled for various response biases. Results showed emotion-specific age-related differences in recognition accuracy. Old adults consistently received significantly lower recognition rates for negative, but not for positive, emotions for both speech and music stimuli. Some age-related differences were also evident in the listeners’ ratings of emotion intensity. The results show the importance of considering individual emotions in studies on age-related differences in emotion recognition.


Aging Emotion Music Speech Vocal expression 



This work was supported by the research program “Arts in Hospital and Care as Culture” within Stockholm County Council and the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (SYLFF) through grants to Petri Laukka and by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation and the Swedish Research Council through grants to Patrik N. Juslin.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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