Age-related decline in the ability to decode emotional prosody: primary or secondary phenomenon?
Mitchell, R.L.C. (2007) Age-related decline in the ability to decode emotional prosody: primary or secondary phenomenon? Cognition & Emotion, 21 (7). pp. 1435-1454. ISSN 0269-9931
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/02699930601133994
Emotion processing deficits can cause catastrophic damage to a person's ability to interact socially. While it is known that older adults have difficulty identifying facial emotions, it is still not clear whether this difficulty extends to identification of the emotion conveyed by prosody. This study investigated whether the ability of older adults to decode emotional prosody falls below that of young adults after controlling for loss of hearing sensitivity and key features of cognitive ageing. Apart from frontal lobe load, only verbal IQ was associated with the age-related reduction in performance displayed by older participants, but a notable deficit existed after controlling for its effects. It is concluded that older adults may indeed have difficulty deducing the emotion conveyed by prosody, and that while this difficulty can be exaggerated by some aspects of cognitive ageing, it is primary in origin.