The development of our ability to recognize (vocal) emotional expression has been relatively understudied. Even less studied is the effect of linguistic (spoken) context on emotion perception. In this study we investigate the performance of young (18.25) and old (60.85) listeners on two tasks: an emotion recognition task where emotions expressed in a sustained vowel (/a/) had to be recognized and an emotion attribution task where listeners had to judge a neutral fragment that was preceded by a phrase that varied in speech rate and/or loudness. The results of the recognition task showed that old and young participants do not differ in their recognition accuracy. The emotion attribution task showed that young listeners are more likely to interpret neutral stimuli as emotional when the preceding speech is emotionally colored. The results are interpreted as evidence for diminished plasticity later in life.
Bibliographic reference. Goudbeek, Martijn / Nilsenová, Marie (2011): "Context and priming effects in the recognition of emotion of old and young listeners", In INTERSPEECH-2011, 93-96.