This research examined the influence of mood-congruent and mood-incongruent contexts on recognizing affective prosody after brain damage. Predictions stemmed from an associative network theory of learning and memory. Thirty-three male subjects, 11 each in right hemisphere damaged (RHD), left hemisphere damaged (LHD), and normal control groups judged moods from the prosody of semantically neutral phrases. In one task, the prosodic stimulus phrases were judged in isolation. In another task, the phrases were preceded by short paragraphs which were either congruent or incongruent in emotional tone with the prosodic stimuli. These paragraphs were designed to prime specific mood choices. As anticipated, LHD subjects' prosodic mood recognition was more accurate when given congruent rather than incongruent affective contexts. Congruent contexts facilitated, and incongruent contexts disrupted, their prosodic mood judgments to the same extent as normals. RHD subjects showed a partial context decrement. They were less accurate than normal or LHD subjects in the congruent condition, and were unaffected by incongruent contexts. When given congruent biasing paragraphs, however, RHD subjects did experience facilitation on a par with that found for the other groups, indicating spared sensitivity to certain contextual factors. The distinction between automatic and effortful processes is offered as a potential explanation for the RHD group's pattern of performance. © 1987.
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