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On the Symbolic Functions of Vocal Affect Expression

Published in Journal of Language and Social Psychology. 1988, vol. 7, no. 2, p. 79-100
Abstract Starting from recent evidence on symbolic representational functions of primate calls, the question is raised as to whether human affect vocalisation might also serve cognitive representational as well as affective functions. An early model of sign functions, the Bühler Organon model, which postulates symbol, symptom and signal functions for all signs, is described. Furthermore, a distinction is made between push factors, which determine affect expression mainly via physiological effects, and pull factors, which influence expression via socially mediated models. Pull factors often seem implied in the signalling functions. While physiologically based push factors often provide symptoms of sender state, it is argued here that they may also serve cognitive representational functions in the sense that they reflect the antecedent cognitive appraisal processes that produced the affect state in the sender. In conclusion, a speculative link between the symbolic function of affect expression and the origin of language is discussed.
Keywords Symbolic fucntionsVocal affect
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Article (Published version) (1.1 MB) - public document Free access
Research group Affective sciences
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SCHERER, Klaus R. On the Symbolic Functions of Vocal Affect Expression. In: Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 1988, vol. 7, n° 2, p. 79-100. doi: 10.1177/0261927X8800700201 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:101973

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Deposited on : 2018-02-08

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