Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Brain and Cognition 136 (2019) 103593 doi:10.1016/j.bandc.2019.103593


Published by Elsevier Inc. Used by permission.


Recent meta analyses suggest there is a common brain network involved in processing emotion in music and sounds. However, no studies have directly compared the neural substrates of equivalent emotional Western classical music and emotional environmental sounds. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging we investigated whether brain activation in motor cortex, interoceptive cortex, and Broca’s language area during an auditory emotional appraisal task differed as a function of stimulus type. Activation was relatively greater to music in motor and interoceptive cortex – areas associated with movement and internal physical feelings – and relatively greater to emotional environmental sounds in Broca’s area. We conclude that emotional environmental sounds are appraised through verbal identification of the source, and that emotional Western classical music is appraised through evaluation of bodily feelings. While there is clearly a common core emotion-processing network underlying all emotional appraisal, modality-specific contextual information may be important for understanding the contribution of voluntary versus automatic appraisal mechanisms.

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