Recognition of emotions expressed on the face impairments in Parkinson’s disease
Background: Facial emotion recognition (FER) is a complex process, involving many brain circuits, including the basal ganglia that its motor involvement causes Parkinson's disease (PD). The previous studies used different tools for assessment of FER in PD. There is a discrepancy between the results of these studies due to different tools. In this study, we used a modified version of the Multimodal Emotion Recognition Test (MERT) to compare patients with PD to healthy controls (HCs).
Methods: It was a cross-sectional study with primary objective of the mean percentage of the correct answers in MERT. Subjects had to name the emotions presented with different modalities.
Results: 30 subjects were recruited and assessed in each group. The mean total MERT score was significantly lower in subjects with PD compared to HCs (35.0% vs. 44.5%). FER was significantly better when emotions were presented by video and worse when presented by still pictures. Both subjects with PD and HCs had lower MERT scores in recognizing negative emotions. There was no significant correlation between the duration and severity of PD and MERT score.
Conclusion: Our study provided more pieces of evidence for impairment of FER in PD for recognizing emotions like sadness, disgust, and fear compared to happy expressions.