Emotional prosody, which has been defined as the emotional aspects of speech which communicate pleasure, fear, sorrow, anger, etc., has been demonstrated to be primarily a function of the nondominant hemisphere (typically, the right hemisphere) in adult populations. However, few researchers have addressed the developmental or lateralized nature of emotional prosody in children. In this study, an instrument was developed to measure the receptive aspects of emotional prosody in pediatric populations and administered to normal children ages 6 to 11 years old. An analysis of variance revealed significant age-related differences. Additionally, the instrument was administered to 12 children with right temporal lobe epilepsy and 11 children with left temporal lobe epilepsy. Analysis of variance indicated that there was no significant difference in scores between the left temporal and right temporal lobe groups. However, right temporal epileptic patients scored significantly lower than normal children on all sections of the instrument, suggesting that in children like adults, the right temporal lobe may be dominant with respect to the receptive aspects of emotional prosody.
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