Musical experience promotes subcortical efficiency in processing emotional vocal sounds

Dana L. Strait, Nina Kraus, Erika Skoe, Richard Ashley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

39 Scopus citations


To understand how musical experience influences subcortical processing of emotionally salient sounds, we recorded brain stem potentials to affective vocal sounds. Our results suggest that auditory expertise engenders subcortical auditory processing efficiency that is intricately connected with acoustic features important for the communication of emotion. This establishes a subcortical role in the auditory processing of emotional cues, providing the first biological evidence for musicians' enhanced perception of vocally expressed emotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Symposium on Olfaction and Taste
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9781573317399
StatePublished - Jul 2009

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632


  • Auditory brain stem response
  • Brain
  • Emotion
  • Musicians
  • Plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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