Publication details for Dr Rachel MitchellMitchell, R. (2007). fMRI delineation of working memory for emotional prosody in the brain: Commonalities with the lexico-semantic emotion network. NeuroImage 36(3): 1015-1025.
- Publication type: Journal papers: academic
- ISSN/ISBN: 1053-8119
- DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.03.016
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
Decoding emotional prosody is crucial for successful social interactions, and continuous monitoring of emotional intent via prosody requires working memory. It has been proposed by Ross and others that emotional prosody cognitions in the right hemisphere are organized in an analogous fashion to propositional language functions in the left hemisphere. This study aimed to test the applicability of this model in the context of prefrontal cortex working memory functions. BOLD response data were therefore collected during performance of two emotional working memory tasks by participants undergoing fMRI. In the prosody task, participants identified the emotion conveyed in pre-recorded sentences, and working memory load was manipulated in the style of an N-back task. In the matched lexico-semantic task, participants identified the emotion conveyed by sentence content. Block-design neuroimaging data were analyzed parametrically with SPM5. At first, working memory for emotional prosody appeared to be right-lateralized in the PFC, however, further analyses revealed that it shared much bilateral prefrontal functional neuroanatomy with working memory for lexico-semantic emotion. Supplementary separate analyses of males and females suggested that these language functions were less bilateral in females, but their inclusion did not alter the direction of laterality. It is concluded that Ross et al.'s model is not applicable to prefrontal cortex working memory functions, that evidence that working memory cannot be subdivided in prefrontal cortex according to material type is increased, and that incidental working memory demands may explain the frontal lobe involvement in emotional prosody comprehension as revealed by neuroimaging studies.