Long-standing affective science theories conceive the perception of emotional stimuli either as discrete categories (for example, an angry voice) or continuous dimensional attributes (for example, an intense and negative vocal emotion). Which position provides a better account is still widely debated. Here we contrast the positions to account for acoustics-independent perceptual and cerebral representational geometry of perceived voice emotions. We combined multimodal imaging of the cerebral response to heard vocal stimuli (using functional magnetic resonance imaging and magneto-encephalography) with post-scanning behavioural assessment of voice emotion perception. By using representational similarity analysis, we find that categories prevail in perceptual and early (less than 200 ms) frontotemporal cerebral representational geometries and that dimensions impinge predominantly on a later limbic-temporal network (at 240 ms and after 500 ms). These results reconcile the two opposing views by reframing the perception of emotions as the interplay of cerebral networks with different representational dynamics that emphasize either categories or dimensions.
Data from: The representational dynamics of perceived voice emotions evolve from categories to dimensions
Giordano, B. L. (Contributor), Whiting, C. (Contributor), Kriegeskorte, N. (Contributor), Kotz, S. (Contributor), Gross, J. (Contributor) & Belin, P. (Contributor), DRYAD, 3 Mar 2021