Thus far the team had verified by experiment what had been expected in theory. It now wanted to see if more complex stimuli followed the straightforward patterns. Neurologist Dirk Wildgruber of the University of Tübingen designed tests that relied on the intonation of language rather than on its plain content, because how a person says something often transmits more emotional information than what he says.
Wildgruber had test subjects listen to recorded sentences such as "I've been visiting Agnes every weekend." This sentence was spoken by an actor in a voice that was happy, frustrated or neutral. A computer then processed the sentences so that they differed only in terms of sound amplitude and vowel length. These traits were enough for the subjects to distinguish the intensity of the emotional expression.
This article was originally published with the title Right Brain May Be Wrong.