Affective speech prosody perception and production in stroke patients with left-hemispheric damage and healthy controls

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Abstract

Purpose:

‘Affective prosody’ defines the supra-segmental features of speech that, when manipulated, can change the type and intensity of emotion conveyed by the speaker. Although the right hemisphere is predominantly linked to the processing of affective prosodic cues, existing literature also suggests that damage to the left hemisphere can result in similar deficits. This study aims to demonstrate, and add to the evidence, that patients with left-hemisphere injury experience difficulties with affective prosodic perception and production, measured via a new combination of assessments and analyses. It is also hypothesised that aphasia severity will be correlated with impaired processing of affective prosody.

Results:

Stroke and control participants differed significantly on prosody perception tests of matching auditory affective cues to visual images. Prosodic production was measured by participants vocalising different affective expressions of words and monosyllables – from which significant differences were found in perceptual judgements of emotion accuracy and intensity, and acoustic analyses of pitch range and variance. There were significant correlations between participants’ Western Aphasia Battery (WAB) scores, quality of life, and prosody production.

Conclusion:

Individuals with left-hemisphere damage after stroke have impaired affective prosodic perception and production that may be associated with reduced quality of life.

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