Fachgebiet Cognitive and Developmental Psychology

"It's all Hebrew to me!” – Perception of emotions in German and Hebrew speech – cross-cultural, linguistic and second language aspects

Principal Investigators: Prof. Dr. Thomas Lachmann in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Shanley Allen (Psycholinguistics and Language Development – University Kaiserlautern), Dr. Ben-David Boaz (Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), School of Psychology Herzliya - Israel)

Source of funding: GIF – German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development

Grant amount: 180,000.00 €

Duration: January 2016 to December 2018

Project members: Prof. Dr. Thomas Lachmann, Prof. Dr. Shanley Allen, Dr. Patricia de Brito Casthilo Wesseling, Sabrina Defren, M.Sc., Dr. Boaz Ben-David, Dr. Vered Shakuf

Project description: Accurate identification of emotions in speech is a key element for successful communication. But are the rules for interpreting emotions in speech universal or language (culture) specific? Some studies suggest that the processing of basic emotional prosodies is generally universal. Others point out that the relative roles that prosody and semantics play in perception vary between cultures and languages. The main goal of the project is to further elucidate this issue by comparing the rating of German and Hebrew emotional speech by first and second language speakers. The project uses a validated novel tool (T-RES, Test for Rating of Emotions in Speech) designed to assess the complex interaction of prosody and semantics in spoken emotions. Listeners are presented with spoken sentences in which the emotional valence of prosody and semantics appear in different combinations from trial to trial, with four separate emotions serving as a baseline for performance. In each trial, listeners are asked to rate how much they agree that the speakers expresses a specific emotion, on four separate emotion scales. The project consists of three studies: 1- Universal and linguistic aspects of Prosody, 2- Emotional dimension (prosody and semantics) by Israelis and Germans, 3- Replication of study 2 in second language

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