The importance of vocal affect to bimodal processing of emotion: Implications for individuals with traumatic brain injury

Barbra Zupan, Dawn Neumann, Duncan R. Babbage, Barry Willer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

31 Scopus citations


Persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI) often have difficulty recognizing emotion in others. This is likely due to difficulties in interpreting non-verbal cues of affect. Although deficits in interpreting facial cues of affect are being widely explored, interpretation of vocal cues of affect has received much less attention. Accurate interpretation of vocal affect cues is important, particularly when facial cues are absent or ambiguous. These cues also contribute to more accurate identification of emotion. The neural substrates of facial and vocal affect recognition appear to be shared, further contributing to improved bimodal processing. This article discusses the importance of vocal affect cues in interpreting emotion. Expression of vocal affect in persons with TBI is also briefly discussed since difficulty in controlling and manipulating vocal cues of emotion when speaking may also contribute to poor social outcomes. A review of the literature in acoustic parameters that contribute to identification and expression of emotions is followed by a discussion on the integration of visual and auditory cues in bimodal processing and the relationship between facial and vocal affect in persons with TBI. Learning Outcomes: Readers will be able to: 1) Identify the parameters primarily used to describe the acoustic characteristics of vocal affect; 2) Describe the acoustic parameters typically associated with Anger, Fear, Happiness and Sadness; 3) Describe the difficulties experienced by persons with TBI in the perception and integration of facial and vocal cues of affect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Communication Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • LPN and LVN
  • Speech and Hearing

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