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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2012 Jan;36(1):237-53. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.06.002. Epub 2011 Jun 12.

Emotion recognition in Huntington's disease: a systematic review.

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  • 1Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK. Susie.Henley@ucl.ac.uk


There is increasing interest in the nature of the emotion recognition deficit in Huntington's disease (HD). There are conflicting reports of disproportionate impairments for some emotions in some modalities in HD. A systematic review and narrative synthesis was conducted for studies investigating emotion recognition in HD. Embase, MEDLINE, PsychINFO and Pubmed were searched from 1993 to 2010, and citations and reference lists were searched. 1724 citations were identified. Sixteen studies were included. In manifest HD evidence of impaired recognition of facial expressions of anger was found consistently, although recognition of all negative emotions (facial and vocal) tended to be impaired. In premanifest HD impairments were inconsistent, but are seen in all facial expressions of negative emotion. Inconsistency may represent the variability inherent in HD although may also be due to between-study differences in methodology. Current evidence supports the conclusion that recognition of all negative emotions tends to be impaired in HD, particularly in the facial domain. Future work should focus on using more ecologically-valid tests, and testing inter-modality differences.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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