Summary and Info
Adopting a modified Stroop task, the authors tested the hypothesis that processing systems brought to bear on comprehension of emotional speech are attuned primarily to word evaluation in a low-context culture and language (i.e., in English), but they are attuned primarily to vocal emotion in a high-context culture and language (i.e., in Japanese). Native Japanese (Studies 1 and 2) and English speakers (Study 3) made a judgement of either vocal emotion or word evaluation of an emotionally spoken evaluative word. Word evaluations and vocal emotions were comparable in extremity in the two languages. In support of the hypothesis, an interference effect by competing word evaluation in the vocal emotion judgement was significantly stronger in English than in Japanese. In contrast, an interference effect by competing vocal emotion in the word evaluation judgement was stronger in Japanese than in English. Implications for the cultural grounding of communication, emotion, and cognition are discussed.