Enhanced Recognition of Vocal Emotions in Individuals With Naturally Good Musical Abilities

Correia, A.I.; Castro, S.L.; MacGregor, Chloe; Müllensiefen, Daniel; Schellenberg, E.G. and Lima, César F.. 2022. Enhanced Recognition of Vocal Emotions in Individuals With Naturally Good Musical Abilities. Emotion, 22(5), pp. 894-906. ISSN 1528-3542 [Article]

Correia Et al (2020) Enhanced Recognition of Vocal Emotions in Individuals with Naturally Good Musical Abilities _AAM.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

Music training is widely assumed to enhance several nonmusical abilities, including speech perception, executive functions, reading, and emotion recognition. This assumption is based primarily on cross-sectional comparisons between musicians and nonmusicians. It remains unclear, however, whether training itself is necessary to explain the musician advantages, or whether factors such as innate predispositions and informal musical experience could produce similar effects. Here, we sought to clarify this issue by examining the association between music training, music perception abilities and vocal emotion recognition. The sample (N = 169) comprised musically trained and untrained listeners who varied widely in their musical skills, as assessed through self-report and performance-based measures. The emotion recognition tasks required listeners to categorize emotions in nonverbal vocalizations (e.g., laughter, crying) and in speech prosody. Music training was associated positively with emotion recognition across tasks, but the effect was small. We also found a positive association between music perception abilities and emotion recognition in the entire sample, even with music training held constant. In fact, untrained participants with good musical abilities were as good as highly trained musicians at recognizing vocal emotions. Moreover, the association between music training and emotion recognition was fully mediated by auditory and music perception skills. Thus, in the absence of formal music training, individuals who were “naturally” musical showed musician-like performance at recognizing vocal emotions. These findings highlight an important role for factors other than music training (e.g., predispositions and informal musical experience) in associations between musical and nonmusical domains. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Additional Information:

Funded by grants from Portuguese Foundation for Science and Tech-nology (FCT) awarded to Cesar F. Lima (PTDC/PSI-GER/28274/2017 andIF/00172/2015) and to the Center for Psychology at University of Porto(UID/PSI/00050/2013 and PTDC/PSI-GER/28274/2017)


emotion, music, training, aptitude, voice

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



21 May 2020Accepted
27 July 2020Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

14 Aug 2020 10:14

Last Modified:

15 Aug 2022 13:44

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)