Sex differences in behavioral and brain responses to incongruity in emotional speech controlling for autistic traits

Ming LUI*, Xiaojing Li, Werner Sommer, Andrea Hildebrandt, Gilbert Ka Bo Lau, Changsong ZHOU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Accurate interpretation of speech requires the integration of verbal and nonverbal signals. This study investigated sex differences in behavior and neural activities associated with the integration of semantic content and emotional speech prosody, while the level of autistic traits was controlled for. Adults listened to Cantonese words spoken with happy and sad prosody, and made judgments on semantic valence while event-related potentials (ERP) were recorded. Behaviorally, men were slower than women in making semantic valence judgments. At the neural level, men had a greater congruity effect in the N400 component, whereas women had a greater congruity effect in the 1150–1300 ms time window for happy prosodies. There was no effect of sex in case of sad prosodies. Our study reveals novel findings on sex differences in the timing of the integration between verbal and non-verbal signals that cannot be explained by differences in autistic traits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107973
JournalBiological Psychology
Volume157
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Autistic traits
  • Emotional prosody
  • Event-related potentials
  • Individual differences
  • Semantic processing
  • Sex differences
  • Speech comprehension

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