Prosody, Music, and Language

In the laboratory, we manipulate the prosody of natural speech recordings along multiple acoustic dimensions to investigate how prosodic surface features are decoded and linked to higher-order linguistic, affective, and aesthetic representations. Our work so far has shown multiple processing streams in the right hemisphere (Sammler et al., 2015) that are dynamically weighted depending on signal composition and task, and that interact with language networks in the left hemisphere (Sammler et al., 2010, 2018) or subcortical socio-affective circuits (Hellbernd & Sammler, 2018). By testing individuals with different musical backgrounds and speakers of other languages, including tonal languages such as Mandarin Chinese (Chien et al., 2020, 2021), we aim to further assess interindividual and cross-cultural differences in prosody processing.

Featured Publications

Chien, P.-J., Friederici, A. F., Hartwigsen, G.,* Sammler, D.* (2020). Neural correlates of intonation and lexical tone in tonal and non-tonal language speakers. Human Brain Mapping, 41, 1842–1858. *equal contr.

Hellbernd, N., Sammler, D. (2018). Neural bases of social communicative intentions in speech. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 13, 604–615.

Sammler, D., Grosbras, M.-H., Anwander, A., Bestelmeyer, P. E. G., Belin, P. (2015). Dorsal and ventral pathways for prosody. Current Biology, 25, 3079–3085.

Sammler, D., Kotz, S. A., Eckstein, K., Ott, D. V. M., Friederici, A. D. (2010). Prosody meets syntax: The role of the corpus callosum. Brain, 133, 2643–2655.