Comportamenti emozionali critici

Translated title of the contribution: Ictal emotional behaviors

E. Gardella, F. Rondelli, M. Stanzani Maserati, G. Rubboli, S. Francione, L. Tassi, R. Caterina, M. Costa, G. Lo Russo, P. E. Ricci Bitti, C. A. Tassinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We analyzed the spectrum of ictal emotional behaviors, reviewing video -EEG recordings of 477 seizures of 81 candidates to epilepsy surgery (45 temporal/36 frontal lobe), 51 studied with SEEG. The clinical interpretation of emotion - including facial expression of emotion (FEE), motor and/or verbal behavior and coherent emotional experience - has been validated by psychological studies (F.A.C.S., spectrograms, body movements rating). We compared prevalence and features of the six basic emotions (Anger, Fear, Happiness, Disgust, Sadness and Surprise). In 60% of seizures we observed emotional manifestations, ranging from isolated FEE to complex motor/acoustic behaviors (21% of seizures); only in 13% of seizures the experience of emotion was referred. FEEs had similar prevalence in frontal (52%) and temporal (66%) lobe seizures and in both genders, but female more frequently shoved also an emotional behavior and/or referred an emotional feeling. All the six basic emotions were represented; about 25% of FEE were blended. Anger, Fear, disgust, sadness were related with right ictal discharge. Fear and disgust were associated with oro-alimentary automatisms. The same patient expressed 1. 3 types of ictal emotions (mean 1.6) and up to three different emotion could emerge in one single seizure (mean 1.3). Only 35% of patients presented the same type of emotion in all seizure, with variable latency. In conclusion, ictal emotional manifestations consist in a spectrum of events, that show inter and infra-individual heterogeneity. The association of ictal emotions and complex automatisms supports the hypothesis of the involvement of a wide physiological network including prefrontal, fronto-mesial and temporal limbic structures; the right prevalence of the ictal discharge confirms the hemispheric right specialization for emotions. The sexual dimorphism in expressing ictal emotions suggests the involvement of "universal" cross-cultural mechanisms.

Translated title of the contributionIctal emotional behaviors
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)105-107
Number of pages3
JournalBollettino - Lega Italiana contro l'Epilessia
Issue number133-134
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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