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Soc Neurosci. 2019 Dec;14(6):705-716. doi: 10.1080/17470919.2019.1577295. Epub 2019 Feb 15.

The contribution of semantic memory to the recognition of basic emotions and emotional valence: Evidence from the semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia.

Author information

1
Faculté de médecine, Département de réadaptation, Université Laval , Québec , QC , Canada.
2
Centre de recherche CERVO - Brain Research Centre , Québec , QC , Canada.
3
École de psychologie, Université Laval , Québec , QC , Canada.
4
Département des sciences neurologiques, Clinique interdisciplinaire de mémoire du CHU de Québec , Québec , QC , Canada.
5
Faculté de médecine, Département de médecine, Université Laval , Québec , QC , Canada.

Abstract

There is compelling evidence that semantic memory is involved in emotion recognition. However, its contribution to the recognition of emotional valence and basic emotions remains unclear. We compared the performance of 10 participants with the semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia (svPPA), a clinical model of semantic memory impairment, to that of 33 healthy participants using three experimental tasks assessing the recognition of: 1) emotional valence conveyed by photographic scenes, 2) basic emotions conveyed by facial expressions, and 3) basic emotions conveyed by prosody sounds. Individuals with svPPA showed significant deficits in the recognition of emotional valence and basic emotions (except happiness and surprise conveyed by facial expressions). However, the performance of the two groups was comparable when the performance on tests assessing semantic memory was added as a covariate in the analyses. Altogether, these results suggest that semantic memory contributes to the recognition of emotional valence and basic emotions. By examining the recognition of emotional valence and basic emotions in individuals with selective semantic memory loss, our results contribute to the refinement of current theories on the role of semantic memory in emotion recognition.

KEYWORDS:

Semantic memory; basic emotions; emotion recognition; emotional valence; semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia

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