Hearing feelings: a quantitative meta-analysis on the neuroimaging literature of emotional prosody perception

Neuropsychologia. 2012 Oct;50(12):2752-2763. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.07.026. Epub 2012 Jul 27.


With the advent of neuroimaging considerable progress has been made in uncovering the neural network involved in the perception of emotional prosody. However, the exact neuroanatomical underpinnings of the emotional prosody perception process remain unclear. Furthermore, it is unclear what the intrahemispheric basis might be of the relative right-hemispheric specialization for emotional prosody perception that has been found previously in the lesion literature. In an attempt to shed light on these issues, quantitative meta-analyses of the neuroimaging literature were performed to investigate which brain areas are robustly associated with stimulus-driven and task-dependent perception of emotional prosody. Also, lateralization analyses were performed to investigate whether statistically reliable hemispheric specialization across studies can be found in these networks. A bilateral temporofrontal network was found to be implicated in emotional prosody perception, generally supporting previously proposed models of emotional prosody perception. Right-lateralized convergence across studies was found in (early) auditory processing areas, suggesting that the right hemispheric specialization for emotional prosody perception reported previously in the lesion literature might be driven by hemispheric specialization for non-prosody-specific fundamental acoustic dimensions of the speech signal.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Functional Neuroimaging
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Speech Perception / physiology*