Perception of affective and linguistic prosody: an ALE meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2014 Sep;9(9):1395-403. doi: 10.1093/scan/nst124. Epub 2013 Aug 9.


Prosody refers to the melodic and rhythmic aspects of speech. Two forms of prosody are typically distinguished: 'affective prosody' refers to the expression of emotion in speech, whereas 'linguistic prosody' relates to the intonation of sentences, including the specification of focus within sentences and stress within polysyllabic words. While these two processes are united by their use of vocal pitch modulation, they are functionally distinct. In order to examine the localization and lateralization of speech prosody in the brain, we performed two voxel-based meta-analyses of neuroimaging studies of the perception of affective and linguistic prosody. There was substantial sharing of brain activations between analyses, particularly in right-hemisphere auditory areas. However, a major point of divergence was observed in the inferior frontal gyrus: affective prosody was more likely to activate Brodmann area 47, while linguistic prosody was more likely to activate the ventral part of area 44.

Keywords: ALE meta-analysis; affective prosody; brain imaging, inferior frontal gyrus; emotion; linguistic prosody; speech.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Databases, Bibliographic / statistics & numerical data
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Linguistics*
  • Neuroimaging*
  • Perception / physiology*
  • Speech / physiology*