Two studies were conducted in order to determine whether the poor performance of RHD patients on emotional prosody tasks could be attributed to a defect in perceiving/categorizing emotional prosody (processing defect) or to a problem in being distracted by the semantic content of affectively intoned sentences (distraction defect). In one study, patients with RHD, LHD or NHD listened to affectively intoned sentences in which the semantic content was congruent or incongruent with the emotional prosody. In a second study, the patients listened to affectively intoned sentences that had been speech filtered or unfiltered. Findings from these studies indicate that both processing and distraction defects are present in RHD patients. © 1987.