Emotional language production: Time course, behavioral and electrophysiological correlates

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Abstract

The ultimate goal of speaking is to convey meaning, and meaning may relate not only to categorical or associative semantics, but also to social and emotional aspects. However, while semantic effects are well-investigated, little is known about how emotional contents shape different planning stages during language production. In two experiments we investigated emotional language production using electrophysiological measures of brain activity during overt speaking. In event related brain potentials, negative emotional contents were associated with augmented amplitudes of the late positive potential (LPP) over centro-parietal regions. Furthermore, performance was more error-prone, and we observed emotion-induced variances in the loudness of speaking. These findings are taken to reflect evaluations of the intrinsic value and potential social relevance and appropriateness of the utterance during self-monitoring and subsequent adjustments of articulatory processes. The present study demonstrates intimate -and thus far largely undescribed - relations between emotion, social-communicative factors and language production at different levels of speech planning and articulation.

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