The role of the left and right hemispheres in processing the gender of voices is controversial, some evidence suggesting a bilateral involvement, some others suggesting a right-hemispheric superiority. We investigated this issue in a gender categorization task involving healthy participants and a male split-brain patient: female or male natural voices were presented in one ear during the simultaneous presentation of white noise in the other ear (dichotic listening paradigm). Results revealed faster responses by the healthy participants for stimuli presented in the left than in the right ear, although no asymmetries emerged between the two ears in the accuracy of both the patient and the control group. Healthy participants were also more accurate at categorizing female than male voices, and an opposite-gender bias emerged – at least in females – showing faster responses in categorizing voices of the opposite gender. The results support a bilateral hemispheric involvement in voice gender categorization, without asymmetries in the patient, but with a faster categorization when voices are directly presented to the right hemisphere in the healthy sample. Moreover, when the two hemispheres directly interact with one another, a faster categorization of voices of the opposite gender emerges, and it can be an evolutionary grounded bias.

Voice gender categorization in connected and disconnected brains

Giulia Prete
Primo
;
Luca Tommasi
Ultimo
2020

Abstract

The role of the left and right hemispheres in processing the gender of voices is controversial, some evidence suggesting a bilateral involvement, some others suggesting a right-hemispheric superiority. We investigated this issue in a gender categorization task involving healthy participants and a male split-brain patient: female or male natural voices were presented in one ear during the simultaneous presentation of white noise in the other ear (dichotic listening paradigm). Results revealed faster responses by the healthy participants for stimuli presented in the left than in the right ear, although no asymmetries emerged between the two ears in the accuracy of both the patient and the control group. Healthy participants were also more accurate at categorizing female than male voices, and an opposite-gender bias emerged – at least in females – showing faster responses in categorizing voices of the opposite gender. The results support a bilateral hemispheric involvement in voice gender categorization, without asymmetries in the patient, but with a faster categorization when voices are directly presented to the right hemisphere in the healthy sample. Moreover, when the two hemispheres directly interact with one another, a faster categorization of voices of the opposite gender emerges, and it can be an evolutionary grounded bias.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/722891
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