Neural Correlates of Affect Perception in Screams

Screaming is an ability we share with many other primates, and which we possess long before we learn to express our affective state with speech. Previous studies focusing on fearful screams highlighted certain acoustic features, such as roughness, unexploited by speech (Arnal et al., 2015), leading to activation of the amygdala and other subcortical structures critical for danger appraisal. However, screams are not exclusively fearful. But how diverse are the acoustic properties of screams compared to the various affective states expressed? 

More general, little is known about how the affective information of vocalization such as screams shapes the communication of emotive content. This research examines the acoustical characteristics and specificities of contrasted vocalizations and the neural correlates involved in their perception with psychophysics and neuroimaging methods. In addition to better understand screams as a unique sound signal, this research tackles questions raised in a debate on essential versus constructed emotions and will hopefully contribute to a better understanding of human emotion perception.