As per a new research, individuals with elevated depressive symptoms have difficulty perceiving all categories of speech, rather than displaying a selective bias towards sad speech. University of Texas at Austin’s Zilong Xie said that 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.

When a listener has difficulty understanding someone else’s speech, the source of disruption can be placed into one of two categories: energetic masking or informational masking. In energetic masking, sounds from peripheral sources such as construction sites or passing airplanes interfere with speech perception.

In informational masking, the interference comes from linguistic and cognitive sources, such as the background din of human conversation. Informational masking tends to place greater stress on executive function than does energetic masking, thereby turning a cocktail party, or a lecture hall, into a potentially isolating experience.

Xie added that they found that people with elevated depression symptoms are generally poorer at hearing all types of emotional speech relative to people with low depression symptoms. Contrary to the researchers’ expectation, the more depressed subjects did not better understand negative sentences conveyed in information masking environments than those without those symptoms.

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