Depressed people have difficulty understanding emotions in speech, a new study finds.
Researchers tested whether people could pick out the emotional content in speech.
At the same time they were being distracted by different types of background noise.
Dr Zilong Xie, one of the researchers involved, explained the results:
“We found that people with elevated depression symptoms are generally poorer at hearing all types of emotional speech relative to people with low depression symptoms.”
The findings were a surprise to researchers, who expected depressed people to pick up the negative emotions more easily.
Usually people who are depressed are more oriented towards the negative, as Dr Xie explained:
“A lot of research has suggested that these people with elevated depression symptoms have a bias towards negative perception of information in this kind of environment.”
The study was presented at the 169th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), held May 18–22, 2015 in Pittsburgh.
• Continue reading: Depression: 10 Fascinating Insights into a Misunderstood Condition
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Image credit: Brandon Warren