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Left ear advantages in detecting emotional tones using dichotic listening task in an Arabic sample

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Advantages associated with the left ear (right brain hemisphere) have been reported in some studies. Of these, some have specifically suggested that the left ear has a more heightened ability to detect emotional tones. Meanwhile others have pointed to factors such as age and gender as potentially leading to manifestations of human laterality. This study investigates which brain hemisphere is more involved in emotional processing of auditory information in Arab participants. We aimed to replicate the previous studies because no single study has been done in the Arabic region previously. Additionally, people in this region prefer to use the right side of their body, e.g., hand, ear, foot, etc., for most daily tasks. To acquire data a dichotic listening task (DLT) was administered to 28 male and 23 female (Edinburgh, UK) university students aged 19 to 38; 13 were left-handed and 38 were right-handed. The results showed a significant left ear advantage in the auditory processing of emotional information. There was a significant negative correlation between ear preference and handedness. Left ear advantage related only to handedness. Thus right-handed participants were more likely than left-handers to have a left ear advantage. The relationship between ear preference and gender was non-significant. The conclusion that might be drawn from this study is that the left ear (right hemisphere) is more involved in emotional processing than the right ear (left hemisphere), especially for right-handed people.
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Keywords: Cognition; Emotion; Laterality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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