Emotional Prosody Perception in Mandarin-speaking Congenital Amusics

Yixin Zhang, Tianzhu Geng, Jinsong Zhang


Congenital amusia, which is a neurogenetic disorder affecting musical pitch processing, was found recently to affect not only human speech perception, but also emotional perception. Since previous studies only examined participants with non-tonal languages, they cannot easily generalize the finding to people with tonal language background, due to the fact that those people utilize pitch cues much more heavily in daily communication compared with others. To make clear the doubt, this paper investigates emotional prosody perception of Mandarin speakers with congenital amusia. We tried to recruit 19 amusics and matched control group of similar number of normal speakers and carried out emotional perception experiments in which speech and non-speech stimuli with six kinds of emotions were used, including happy, sad, fear, angry, surprise and neutral. Results showed that the amusics performed significantly worse than matched controls. This indicated that tone-language expertise cannot compensate for pitch deficits in amusia for emotional perception. Further analyses demonstrated that there was a positive correlation between emotion prosody performance and pitch perceptional ability. These findings further support previous hypothesis that music and language share cognitive and neural resources and provide a new perspective on the proposition of the relation between music and language.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2018-91

Cite as: Zhang, Y., Geng, T., Zhang, J. (2018) Emotional Prosody Perception in Mandarin-speaking Congenital Amusics. Proc. Interspeech 2018, 2196-2200, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2018-91.


@inproceedings{Zhang2018,
  author={Yixin Zhang and Tianzhu Geng and Jinsong Zhang},
  title={Emotional Prosody Perception in Mandarin-speaking Congenital Amusics},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2018},
  pages={2196--2200},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2018-91},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2018-91}
}