Auditory Affective Norms for German: Testing the Influence of Depression and Anxiety on Valence and Arousal Ratings

2012-01-19T02:38:43Z (GMT) by Philipp Kanske Sonja A. Kotz
<div><h3>Background</h3><p>The study of emotional speech perception and emotional prosody necessitates stimuli with reliable affective norms. However, ratings may be affected by the participants' current emotional state as increased anxiety and depression have been shown to yield altered neural responding to emotional stimuli. Therefore, the present study had two aims, first to provide a database of emotional speech stimuli and second to probe the influence of depression and anxiety on the affective ratings.</p> <h3>Methodology/Principal Findings</h3><p>We selected 120 words from the Leipzig Affective Norms for German database (LANG), which includes visual ratings of positive, negative, and neutral word stimuli. These words were spoken by a male and a female native speaker of German with the respective emotional prosody, creating a total set of 240 auditory emotional stimuli. The recordings were rated again by an independent sample of subjects for valence and arousal, yielding groups of highly arousing negative or positive stimuli and neutral stimuli low in arousal. These ratings were correlated with participants' emotional state measured with the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS). Higher depression scores were related to more negative valence of negative and positive, but not neutral words. Anxiety scores correlated with increased arousal and more negative valence of negative words.</p> <h3>Conclusions/Significance</h3><p>These results underscore the importance of representatively distributed depression and anxiety scores in participants of affective rating studies. The LANG-audition database, which provides well-controlled, short-duration auditory word stimuli for the experimental investigation of emotional speech is available in <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0030086#pone.0030086.s001">Supporting Information S1</a>.</p> </div>