Fachgebiet Cognitive and Developmental Psychology

Children’s perception of emotions in spoken language

Source of funding:  TU Kaiserslautern Nachwuchsring Individual Funding

Grant amount: 10,000 €

Principal Investigators:Dr. Patricia de Brito Castilho Wesseling

Project members:Prof. Dr. Thomas Lachmann,  Prof. Dr. Shanley Allen, Sabrina Defren, M.Sc.Sophia von Versen 

Funding Period: 2018 - 2019

Project Description: In order to participate effectively in social interactions, it is essential to recognize, understand and respond appropriately to the emotion conveyed in speech. Emotional information is basically conveyed in two different channels; linguistic (semantic content of spoken language) and prosody (intonation of what is sad)). Both play an important role by communicating with others. The linguistic information (i.e., semantic) supports understanding the meaning content of a spoken sentence and prosody helps listeners to understand and supports accuracy of what was sad. Given the central role of semantics and prosody in spoken language, the main goal of the project is to investigate how native-speaking German children process prosody and semantics when hearing sentences spoken in German. We are also interested in investigating how monolingual German children perceive prosodic and semantic cues in a foreign unknown language (Hebrew and English).


For the stimuli, the children will be informed individually that they will hear spoken sentences and will be asked to rate how much they agree that the speaker conveys a particular emotion. They will be instructed to rate the sentences on a 4-point Likert scale. For this, the project will adapt and use the validated tool T-RES (Test for Rating of Emotions in Speech (Ben-David, Lieshout & Leszcz, 2011)) designed to assess the complex interaction of prosody and semantics in spoken emotions.

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