Emotional responses to auditory stimuli

Jorge L. Armony and Joseph E. LeDoux

in The Oxford Handbook of Auditory Science: The Auditory Brain

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199233281
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Emotional responses to auditory stimuli

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Psychology


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This article describes what is currently known about the neural structures and mechanisms associated with the processing of emotional auditory information for stimuli with intrinsic or learned affective value. It focuses on the amygdala, as this structure has been consistently shown to be a crucial component of the emotional brain, across several sensory modalities, in particular, within the auditory domain. The amygdala may be part of a supramodal emotional brain network that remains fairly conserved throughout evolution. Although most of our knowledge on the neurobiology of auditory emotional processing, in particular fear conditioning, comes from studies conducted in experimental animals, especially rodents, recent studies have confirmed that analogous brain regions and mechanisms are responsible for the processing of emotional information in humans. Future studies should help further identify the similarities and differences in the neural processing of emotional information across modalities and species.

Keywords: emotional processing; auditory information; amygdala; fear conditioning; neurobiology

Article.  13713 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Cognitive Psychology

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