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The Influence of the Attachment Style on the Decoding Accuracy of Emotional Vocal Expressions


This study aimed at examining the effects of attachment style on the ability of recognizing emotions, from acoustic stimuli, in subjects with induced emotional states. An adequate sample of 145 university students (71 females and 74 males; mean age = 23.37 ± 2.05) was recruited from the Second University of Naples (Italy). The subjects, classified for attachment style into Secure, Insecure Dismissing, Insecure Preoccupied and Insecure Fearful, were randomly assigned with one of three (sad, fearful or neutral) different elicited emotional conditions induced by viewing short movies. Immediately after the mood-induction procedure, subjects undertook a vocal emotion-decoding task. Secure subjects were more accurate in recognizing surprise and sadness than the Insecure group; Fearfully attached individuals were less accurate in identifying vocal stimuli conveying sadness than the Securely and Dismissively attached groups. The recognition of vocal stimuli was not affected by induced mood conditions. No mood-congruity effects were found. The study sheds light on some of the factors underlying the emotion-recognition process. Possible explanations of the contribution of attachment style on the ability to decode vocal stimuli were discussed.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alda Troncone.

Additional information

The names of the authors are in alphabetic order since each made a significant contribution to the research reported.

Appendix: Consent form

Appendix: Consent form

You are invited to participate in a research study aiming at investigate how individuals get to know each others.

In this study, you will be asked to answer a number of questions regarding your preferences, habits and opinions and you will be requested to watch and listen to a series of vocal and visual emotional stimuli.

There are no risks involved. However, you may stop participating at any time, especially if you feel uncomfortable, distressed or inappropriate. Please inform the experimenter and withdraw your participation, in this case. Your data remain anonymous and confidential and you can ask at any time to withdraw your data.

You will be required to do these tasks within 1 week following the signature of this consent form.

When the tasks are done, you will receive a “debrief form” which will describe the reasons we are collecting data on these tasks and your. The experiment takes about 20 min.

Please feel free to interrupt the tasks at any time.

If you agree to participate in this experiment, please sign below

I give the consent to use of my personal data in accordance with local Privacy laws and standards (D.Lgs. 196/2003).

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Esposito, A., Palumbo, D. & Troncone, A. The Influence of the Attachment Style on the Decoding Accuracy of Emotional Vocal Expressions. Cogn Comput 6, 699–707 (2014).

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  • Emotional vocal stimuli
  • Emotion recognition
  • Attachment style
  • Mood induction