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N400 during recognition of voice identity and vocal affect

This study explored whether neural processes underlying recognition of speaker's voice and vocal affect are dissociable by measuring event-related potentials. Individuals were asked to identify a target emotion, or a target (congruent) speaker among distracter (incongruent) emotions or speakers. The incongruent condition elicited more negative N400-like response during both tasks, but the distributions differed. Although the response in speaker task was more pronounced at frontal than posterior recording sites, in emotion task, the opposite was true. Furthermore, the response was more pronounced at the left recording sites for speaker task and more pronounced at the right recording sites for emotion task. The present results suggest that neural substrates involved in processing speaker identity are different from those responsible for processing vocal affect.



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