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Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2005 Nov;13(11):926-33.

Emotion-discrimination deficits in mild Alzheimer disease.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.



Mild Alzheimer disease (AD) preferentially affects temporal lobe regions, which represent important structures in memory and emotional processes. This study investigated emotion discrimination in people with mild AD, versus Caretakers.


Twenty AD subjects and 22 caretakers underwent computerized testing of emotion recognition and differentiation. Performances between groups were compared, controlling for possible effects of age and cognitive abilities.


AD subjects showed diminished recognition of happy, sad, fearful, and neutral expressions. They also exhibited decreased differentiation between happy and sad expressions. Controlling for effects of cognitive dysfunction, AD subjects differed on recognition of happy and sad, and differentiation of sad facial expressions, and in error patterns for fearful and neutral faces.


Diminished abilities for emotion discrimination are present in persons with mild AD. In persons with mild AD, who frequently reside in their own home or with close family, this diminished ability may adversely affect social functioning and quality of life.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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