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Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 237–251 | Cite as

Mid-Adolescents’ and Adults’ Recognition of Vocal Cues of Emotion and Social Intent: Differences by Expression and Speaker Age

  • Michele MorningstarEmail author
  • Verity Y. Ly
  • Lara Feldman
  • Melanie A. Dirks
Original Paper

Abstract

Previous research has suggested that the ability to recognize vocal portrayals of socio-emotional expressions improves with age throughout childhood and adolescence. The current study examined whether stimulus-level factors (i.e., the age of the speaker and the type of expression being conveyed) interacted with listeners’ developmental stage to predict listeners’ recognition accuracy. We assessed mid-adolescent (n = 50, aged 13–15 years) and adult (n = 87, 18–30 years) listeners’ ability to recognize basic emotions and social expressions in the voices of both adult and youth actors. Adults’ emotional prosody was better recognized than that of youth, and adult listeners were more accurate overall than were mid-adolescents. Interaction effects revealed that youths’ accuracy was equivalent to adult listeners’ when hearing adult portrayals of anger, disgust, friendliness, happiness, and meanness, and youth portrayals of disgust, happiness, and meanness. Our findings highlight the importance of speaker characteristics and type of expression on listeners’ ability to recognize vocal cues of emotion and social intent.

Keywords

Emotion recognition Social expressions Vocal cues Adolescence 

Notes

Funding

This work was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the McGill Research Ethics Board, and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michele Morningstar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Verity Y. Ly
    • 1
  • Lara Feldman
    • 1
  • Melanie A. Dirks
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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