Non-voluntary and voluntary processing of emotional prosody: An event-related potentials study

Ilse J.A. Wambacq, Kelly J. Shea-Miller, Abuhuziefa Abubakr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


The present study investigated whether event-related potentials (ERPs) reflect non-voluntary vs voluntary processing of emotional prosody. ERPs were obtained while participants processed emotional information non-voluntarily (i.e. while evaluating semantic characteristics of a stimulus) and voluntarily (i.e. while evaluating emotional characteristics of a stimulus). Results suggest that emotional prosody is processed around 160 ms after stimulus onset under non-voluntary processing conditions (when the attention is diverted from the emotional meaning of the tone of voice); and around 360 ms under voluntary processing conditions.The findings support the notion that emotional prosody is processed non-voluntarily in the comprehension of a spoken message.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-559
Number of pages5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2004



  • Emotional prosody
  • Event-related potentials word recognition

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