Language and CommunicationResearch News

The Sound of Emotional Prosody

When we talk to each other, it's not just about the words we say, but also about the way they sound. (Illustration: MPI for Empirical Aesthetics / L. Bittner)

Research Team Publishes Literature Guide and Provides Overview on Current Research

Emotional voices attract considerable attention. A search on any browser using “emotional prosody” as a key phrase leads to more than a million entries. Such interest is evident in the scientific literature as well; readers are reminded in the introductory paragraphs of countless articles of the great importance of prosody and that listeners easily infer the emotional state of speakers through acoustic information. However, despite decades of research on this topic and important achievements, the mapping between acoustics and emotional states is still unclear. In this article, we chart the rich literature on emotional prosody for both newcomers to the field and researchers seeking updates. We also summarize problems revealed by a sample of the literature of the last decades and propose concrete research directions for addressing them, ultimately to satisfy the need for more mechanistic knowledge of emotional prosody.


Larrouy-Maestri, P., Poeppel, D., & Pell, M. D. (2024). The Sound of Emotional Prosody: Nearly 3 Decades of Research and Future Directions. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 0(0). Link