Impaired perception of vocal emotions in Parkinson's disease: Influence of speech time processing and executive functioning

Caterina Breitenstein, Diana Van Lancker, Irene Daum, Cheryl H. Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Little is known about the underlying dimensions of impaired recognition of emotional prosody that is frequently observed in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Because patients with PD also suffer from working memory deficits and impaired time perception, the present study examined the contribution of (a) working memory (frontal executive functioning) and (b) processing of the acoustic parameter speech rate to the perception of emotional prosody in PD. Two acoustic parameters known to be important for emotional classifications (speech duration and pitch variability) were systematically varied in prosodic utterances. Twenty patients with PD and 16 healthy controls (matched for age, sex, and IQ) participated in the study. The findings imply that (1) working memory dysfunctions and perception of emotional prosody are not independent in PD, (2) PD and healthy control subjects perceived vocal emotions categorically along two acoustic manipulation continua, and (3) patients with PD show impairments in processing of speech rate information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-314
Number of pages38
JournalBrain and cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001



  • Acoustic processing
  • Emotional prosody
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Speech synthesis
  • Time perception
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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