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Keywords:

  • Emotion;
  • Attention;
  • Lateralization;
  • Prosody;
  • Anger;
  • Dichotic listening;
  • Peripheral nervous system;
  • Heart period;
  • Skin conductance;
  • Forehead temperature;
  • Finger temperature

Abstract

We investigated the effects of angry prosody, varying focus of attention, and laterality of presentation of angry prosody on peripheral nervous system activity. Participants paid attention to either their left or their right ear while performing a sex discrimination task on dichotically presented pseudo-words. These pseudo-words were characterized by either angry or neutral prosody and presented stereophonically (anger/neutral, neutral/anger, or neutral/neutral, for the left/right ear, respectively). Reaction times and physiological responses (heart period, skin conductance, finger and forehead temperature) in this study were differentially sensitive to the effects of anger versus neutral prosody, varying focus of attention, and laterality of presentation of angry prosody.