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Evolution of Emotional CommunicationFrom Sounds in Nonhuman Mammals to Speech and Music in Man$
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Eckart Altenmüller, Sabine Schmidt, and Elke Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583560.001.0001

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Toward the evolutionary roots of affective prosody in human acoustic communication: A comparative approach to mammalian voices

Toward the evolutionary roots of affective prosody in human acoustic communication: A comparative approach to mammalian voices

Chapter:
(p.116) Chapter 8 Toward the evolutionary roots of affective prosody in human acoustic communication: A comparative approach to mammalian voices
Source:
Evolution of Emotional Communication
Author(s):

Elke Zimmermann

Lisette Leliveld

Simone Schehka

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583560.003.0008

Recent findings from speech, music and nonverbal acoustic communication suggest that some basic acoustically conveyed emotions are universally expressed and recognized across cultures. In this review, we explore a “prehuman origin hypothesis of affective prosody” using a comparative approach with nonhuman mammals. Based on our own work and an extensive literature review, we extracted comparable behavioural contexts in which empirical data on the expression and perception of acoustically conveyed affect intensity could be compared across different mammalian orders. Despite different set-ups, study designs and methods of acoustic analysis, comparative data revealed that affect intensity was similarly encoded across contexts and species, and that acoustically conveyed affect intensity was of significant relevance for listeners. This work supports the hypothesis that affective prosody in human acoustic communication has deep-reaching phylogenetic roots, deriving from precursors already present and relevant in the vocal communication systems of nonhuman mammals.

Keywords:   communication, speech, music, prosody, emotion, mammal, primate, evolution

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