Reaction time and recognition accuracy of speech emotional intonations in short meaningless words that differed only in one phoneme with background noise and without it were studied in 49 adults of 20-79 years old. The results were compared with the same parameters of emotional intonations in intelligent speech utterances under similar conditions. Perception of emotional intonations at different linguistic levels (phonological and lexico-semantic) was found to have both common features and certain peculiarities. Recognition characteristics of emotional intonations depending on gender and age of listeners appeared to be invariant with regard to linguistic levels of speech stimuli. Phonemic composition of pseudowords was found to influence the emotional perception, especially against the background noise. The most significant stimuli acoustic characteristic responsible for the perception of speech emotional prosody in short meaningless words under the two experimental conditions, i.e. with and without background noise, was the fundamental frequency variation.
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