The power of positives: Evidence for an overall emotional recognition deficit in Huntington's disease [Abstract]
The recognition of emotions of disgust, anger and fear have been shown to be significantly impaired in Huntington’s disease (eg,Sprengelmeyer et al, 1997, 2006; Gray et al, 1997; Milders et al, 2003,Montagne et al, 2006; Johnson et al, 2007; De Gelder et al, 2008). The relative impairment of these emotions might have implied a recognition impairment specific to negative emotions. Could the asymmetric recognition deficits be due not to the complexity of the emotion but rather reflect the complexity of the task? In the current study, 15 Huntington’s patients and 16 control subjects were presented with negative and positive non-speech emotional vocalisations that were to be identified as anger, fear, sadness, disgust, achievement, pleasure and amusement in a forced-choice paradigm. This experiment more accurately matched the negative emotions with positive emotions in a homogeneous modality. The resulting dually impaired ability of Huntington’s patients to identify negative and positive non-speech emotional vocalisations correctly provides evidence for an overall emotional recognition deficit in the disease. These results indicate that previous findings of a specificity in emotional recognition deficits might instead be due to the limitations of the visual modality. Previous experiments may have found an effect of emotional specificy due to the presence of a single positive emotion, happiness, in the midst of multiple negative emotions. In contrast with the previous literature, the study presented here points to a global deficit in the recognition of emotional sounds.
Publication typeProceedings paper