Recruitment of Language-, Emotion- and Speech-Timing Associated Brain Regions for Expressing Emotional Prosody: Investigation of Functional Neuroanatomy with fMRI

Rachel L C Mitchell, Agnieszka Jazdzyk, Manuela Stets, Sonja A Kotz

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Abstract

We aimed to progress understanding of prosodic emotion expression by establishing brain regions active when expressing specific emotions, those activated irrespective of the target emotion, and those whose activation intensity varied depending on individual performance. BOLD contrast data were acquired whilst participants spoke non-sense words in happy, angry or neutral tones, or performed jaw-movements. Emotion-specific analyses demonstrated that when expressing angry prosody, activated brain regions included the inferior frontal and superior temporal gyri, the insula, and the basal ganglia. When expressing happy prosody, the activated brain regions also included the superior temporal gyrus, insula, and basal ganglia, with additional activation in the anterior cingulate. Conjunction analysis confirmed that the superior temporal gyrus and basal ganglia were activated regardless of the specific emotion concerned. Nevertheless, disjunctive comparisons between the expression of angry and happy prosody established that anterior cingulate activity was significantly higher for angry prosody than for happy prosody production. Degree of inferior frontal gyrus activity correlated with the ability to express the target emotion through prosody. We conclude that expressing prosodic emotions (vs. neutral intonation) requires generic brain regions involved in comprehending numerous aspects of language, emotion-related processes such as experiencing emotions, and in the time-critical integration of speech information.

Original languageEnglish
Article number518
Number of pages17
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2016

Keywords

  • emotional prosody
  • prosody expression
  • speech
  • social cognition
  • fMRI
  • SCANNER BACKGROUND-NOISE
  • ANATOMIC ORGANIZATION
  • INTELLIGIBLE SPEECH
  • FACIAL EXPRESSIONS
  • ANGRY RUMINATION
  • RIGHT-HEMISPHERE
  • NEGATIVE AFFECT
  • BASIC EMOTIONS
  • NEURAL-NETWORK
  • TEMPORAL-LOBE

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