Perception of emotions in Alzheimer disease

  • Gatignol P
  • Aubert-Garaïalde O
  • Rousseau T
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Introduction.- Alzheimer's disease is a major public health challenge. If we include the family circle, they are nearly three million people directly affected. A disorder of perception of emotions could explain the behavior disorders, communication and emotional numbing that have Alzheimer's patients. Objectives.- To evaluate the perceptual disturbances of emotions and to quantify them, we developed a test of perception of emotions (TPE), based on the recognition test of facial expressions Ekman (1975); it assesses the patient's visual, auditory and auditory-verbal ability of perception. Our taskwas to compare the performance of our control population (30 subjects) with the performance of ten AD patients (MMS> 13). Results.- Our study revealed the existence of a disorder of perception of emotions in patients with Alzheimer type dementia.We found this trend in all three modalities, particularly for visual and auditory-verbal perception. Only the verbal modality seems to be relatively preserved, which demonstrates the importance of intonation contour in the process of identifying emotions. We also showed that Alzheimer subjects despite reduced verbal communication skills in comprehension and production still manage to produce speech with emotionally charged vocal inflections. Their biggest challenge is not to produce speech with an emotional prosody appropriate to achieve but to perceive the emotions conveyed in the voice of their interlocutor. Conclusion.- Our study has revealed that there was a lack of perception of emotions in Alzheimer's disease and the strengthening of emotional prosody could be used as a communication support.




Gatignol, P., Aubert-Garaïalde, O., & Rousseau, T. (2011). Perception of emotions in Alzheimer disease. Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 54, e248.

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