The recognition of facial emotion expressions in Parkinson's disease

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A limited number of studies in Parkinson's Disease (PD) suggest a disturbance of recognition of facial emotion expressions. In particular, disgust recognition impairment has been reported in unmedicated and medicated PD patients. However, the results are rather inconclusive in the definition of the degree and the selectivity of emotion recognition impairment, and an associated impairment of almost all basic facial emotions in PD is also described. Few studies have investigated the relationship with neuropsychiatric and neuropsychological symptoms with mainly negative results. This inconsistency may be due to many different problems, such as emotion assessment, perception deficit, cognitive impairment, behavioral symptoms, illness severity and antiparkinsonian therapy. Here we review the clinical characteristics and neural structures involved in the recognition of specific facial emotion expressions, and the plausible role of dopamine transmission and dopamine replacement therapy in these processes. It is clear that future studies should be directed to clarify all these issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-848
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


  • Anxiety
  • Cognitive deficits
  • Depression
  • Emotion recognition
  • Facial expression
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Pharmacology


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