Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Paul Kieffaber

Committee Members

Gregory D. Smith

Cheryl L. Dickter


Auditory processing of emotion in speech is a complex, multistep process beginning with encoding of sound in the auditory cortex. The present study aimed to demonstrate that emotional auditory stimuli are more salient and therefore produce a larger neural response than neutral auditory stimuli even at the level of the primary auditory cortex. To test this hypothesis, electroencephalography (EEG) was used to collect data from forty five undergraduates (28 Female, Mean age =19.9). The study measured the mismatch negativity (MMN) generated in response to an optimal oddball paradigm comprised of emotional (i.e., happy, sad) and neutral tones. Data indicated that tones of higher frequency elicited significantly larger MMNs regardless of other factors (F(1,32) = 4.68, p < 0.05) however, no significant effect of emotional valence was found. Our findings would suggest that emotional content is not encoded as early as the primary auditory cortex, but further research is necessary to address possible confounding factors in order to elucidate the data.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only