Poster

Emotions Perception in Parkinsonian Patients: A Study on Facial Expressions and Music

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Abstract

In the last decades, a number of studies have focused attention on non-motor symptoms and their impact (Martinez-Martin P, 2011). Having difficulty in recognizing emotional information parkinsonian patients often show behaviors that may affect social relationships. Numerous studies have investigated the facial expressions decoding in patients with Parkinson’s disease and deficits were found in different domains (Blonder, 1989 Yip, 2003). At the opposite, studies on the decoding of emotional meaning expressed in music are still few. We examined 24 patient deemed eligible for the study after analyzing the psycho-cognitive tests a group of 16 people with idiopathic Parkinson Disease (10 men) participated to the study. The parkinsonian group was paired with a control group consisting of 16 people (10 men). The two groups were matched for age, years of education and gender. We used a standardized battery of faces with emotional expressions and a set of 18 music tracks previously validated with respect to their power of eliciting emotions. Main results indicated that parkinsonian patients have severe difficulties in recognizing the emotion of fear expressed by a face. This is coherent with previous studies (Blonder, 1989) (Yip, 2003) (Kan, 2002; Assogna, 2008; Gray, 2010). Parkinsonian participant also reported difficulty in recognizing fear in music. However, the most significant datum relates to sadness. In conclusion, our study confirms that parkinsonian patients suffer from specific deficits in emotional decoding, suggesting the need to approach this domain in order to improve the quality of life.

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