Intensity-dependent facial emotion recognition and cognitive functions in Parkinsons disease

Francesca Assogna, Francesco E. Pontieri, Luca Cravello, Antonella Peppe, Mariangela Pierantozzi, Alessandro Stefani, Paolo Stanzione, Clelia Pellicano, Carlo Caltagirone, Gianfranco Spalletta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients with Parkinsons disease (PD) frequently display non-motor symptoms. In this study, we investigated intensity-dependent facial emotion recognition in patients with PD and healthy controls (HC), matched for age, gender, and education, and its relationship to individual cognitive domains. Seventy patients with PD and 70 HC were submitted to a clinical, neuropsychological, and psychopathological evaluation. Facial emotion recognition performance was assessed using the Penn Emotion Recognition Test (PERT). The patients with PD recognized fewer low- and high-intensity facial expressions of disgust than HC. This effect was selective, because their global ability to recognize emotions was intact. Both patients with PD and HC recognized high-intensity better than low-intensity emotions, except for disgust, which was recognized better at low intensity. In the patients with PD, overall facial emotion recognition and selective disgust recognition performances were related to deficits in many neuropsychological domains (verbal and visuo-spatial memory, attention, praxis, and verbal fluency). The ability to recognize emotions is a complex cognitive process requiring the integrity of several functions. Therefore, it is likely that structural or functional derangement of the discrete neural pathways involved in these cognitive functions in patients with PD makes it difficult for them to recognize emotions expressed by others. (JINS, 2010, 16, 867-876.)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-876
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010


  • Cognition
  • Emotion recognition
  • Facial expression
  • Non-motor symptoms
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Parkinsons disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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