Decoding speech prosody: do music lessons help?Emotion. 2004 Mar; 4(1):46-64.E
Three experiments revealed that music lessons promote sensitivity to emotions conveyed by speech prosody. After hearing semantically neutral utterances spoken with emotional (i.e., happy, sad, fearful, or angry) prosody, or tone sequences that mimicked the utterances' prosody, participants identified the emotion conveyed. In Experiment 1 (n=20), musically trained adults performed better than untrained adults. In Experiment 2 (n=56), musically trained adults outperformed untrained adults at identifying sadness, fear, or neutral emotion. In Experiment 3 (n=43), 6-year-olds were tested after being randomly assigned to 1 year of keyboard, vocal, drama, or no lessons. The keyboard group performed equivalently to the drama group and better than the no-lessons group at identifying anger or fear.