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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2004 Apr;75(4):593-9.

Emotional memory and perception in temporal lobectomy patients with amygdala damage.

Author information

1
Section of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry and GKT School of Medicine, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The human amygdala is implicated in the formation of emotional memories and the perception of emotional stimuli--particularly fear--across various modalities.

OBJECTIVES:

To discern the extent to which these functions are related.

METHODS:

28 patients who had anterior temporal lobectomy (13 left and 15 right) for intractable epilepsy were recruited. Structural magnetic resonance imaging showed that three of them had atrophy of their remaining amygdala. All participants were given tests of affect perception from facial and vocal expressions and of emotional memory, using a standard narrative test and a novel test of word recognition. The results were standardised against matched healthy controls.

RESULTS:

Performance on all emotion tasks in patients with unilateral lobectomy ranged from unimpaired to moderately impaired. Perception of emotions in faces and voices was (with exceptions) significantly positively correlated, indicating multimodal emotional processing. However, there was no correlation between the subjects' performance on tests of emotional memory and perception. Several subjects showed strong emotional memory enhancement but poor fear perception. Patients with bilateral amygdala damage had greater impairment, particularly on the narrative test of emotional memory, one showing superior fear recognition but absent memory enhancement.

CONCLUSIONS:

Bilateral amygdala damage is particularly disruptive of emotional memory processes in comparison with unilateral temporal lobectomy. On a cognitive level, the pattern of results implies that perception of emotional expressions and emotional memory are supported by separate processing systems or streams.

PMID:
15026504
PMCID:
PMC1739015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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