Processing of the Emotional Environment Project

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Welcome to PEEP!

The Processing Emotions in the Environment Project (PEEP) examines how children  process affective prosody, which is defined as the non-linguistic features of speech that convey emotions. Children hear emotions in people’s voices all day long and they notice these emotions. Yet little is known about how young children process affective prosody at a neural level.

PEEP uses functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to take pictures of children’s brains as they listen to people speaking in various emotional voices. This data collection method allows us to answer questions about the neural regions that are activated when children hear these voices. Additionally, we will examine if neural activation differs when children hear unfamiliar and familiar emotional voices.

We are also interested in understanding children’s everyday emotional environment. To study this we ask families to audio record segments of one day of their child’s life.

PEEP is funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH; 1R21MH10457-01A1) and approved by the Penn State Office for Research Protections (MOD00002567). All imaging occurs at the Penn State Social, Life and Engineering Sciences Center (SLEIC).  For more information about our scanning facility, please visit

Faculty Collaborators

Koraly Perez-EdgarPerez-Edgar+Photo
Associate Professor of Psychology
Penn State University

Rick Gilmorerog_090914
Associate Professor of Psychology
Penn State University

Suzy ScherfDr.-Scherf

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Penn State University

Michelle Vigeantmichelle
Assistant Professor of Acoustics and Architectural Engineering
Penn State University