range of tests and stimuli (posed, spontaneous) Borod et al. (2000) general perceptual deficit? general face recognition deficit? Young et al. (1993): LH patients selectively impaired at expression recognition some studies found no side difference
Recognition deficits clear show advantage RH, therefore, support laterality hypothesis However, often no distinctions between emotions.
Kolb and Taylor (2000). matching tasks to avoid impact language deficits. Emotions tested: happy, surprise, anger, sad, fear, disgust.. Involvement temporal lobes in expression recognition related to amygdala. Kolb & Taylor also tested face perception.
Emotion Lecture 5 Neuropsychology of emotions
Emotion Lecture 5
Neuropsychology of emotions
Effects on emotions following acquired brain
damage in people who were normal, that is,
without emotional disorders prior to the injury.
Relevant reading in:
A.R. Damasio (1994). Descartes’ error. In Heavy Demand.
J. LeDoux (1998). The Emotional Brain. In Heavy Demand.
J. Borod (2000). The neuropsychology of emotion. In Heavy
R. Lane & L. Nadel (2002). Cognitive neuroscience of Emotion. In
• What is meant with “emotion”
• The process of emotion
• How does brain injury affect this process and
which brain region may be involved?
“Emotions are episodes of coordinated changes
in several components (including physiological
activation, motor expression and subjective
feeling/experience) in response to external or
internal events of major significance to the
organism” (p. 138).
• The process of emotion:
– identification, evaluation, appraisal of emotional
• recognition of emotional stimuli
• evaluation of emotional significance
– production of affective state
• emotional experience and behaviour
– regulation of affective state
• inhibition or modulation to adjust to current context
Identification, evaluation, appraisal of
• Important to the organism:
important for one’s career, self-esteem, survival,
well-being of a loved one, etc.
– Emotions are relevance detectors
– Evaluation, appraisal in some form is required
– Emotion and motivation are closely related
Production of affective state
• Emotions/affective state consist of (at least 3
– physiological changes (e.g. heart beat, sweating)
- motor actions (e.g. facial expressions, hitting,
- subjective experience, which is distinct from other
- often refereed to as “feeling”
Psychological research mainly concerned with:
• Emotion elicitation and differentiation:
– what events and evaluations lead to an emotion?
– number of possible emotions?
• Patterning of the components of emotions
– unique patterns of components?
– relationship between components?
• Effect of emotion on other psychological
functions (Scherer, 2000)
Contribution of neuropsychology
• Can help in resolving questions from the areas
– Limited number of basic emotions?
– Contribution of emotion to decision-making
• Identify the brain areas involved in different emotions
or components of emotion.
– assumption is that emotions are caused by processes in the
brain: changes in the brain can result in changes in emotion
Recognition of emotional stimuli
Recognition of emotional expressions.
Emotions expressed in:
• body movements
Assessment of emotion recognition deficits
• Profile of Nonverbal Sensitivity (PONS)
– face, voice and body movement (neck to knee)
• 220 2-sec film segments, positive-dominant, positive-submissive, negative-
• RHD patients (7) more impaired than LHD patients (4)
• Perception of Emotions Test (POET)
– face, voice and verbal (emotional scripts)
• 128 6-sec. video/audio segments, anger, happy, sad, neutral
• PET; more RH activation
• Victoria Emotion Perception Test
– face and voice
• 72 items, anger, sadness, happy, fear
• Florida Affect Battery
– face and voice
• 10 subtests, 20 items/subtest, happy, sad, anger, fear and neutral
• RHD patients (10) more impaired than LHD patients (10)
Right vs. left hemisphere
• expression recognition more frequently impaired
following RH damage
• range of tests and stimuli (posed, spontaneous)
• studies in healthy adults also indicate greater role RH
than LH in recognition expressions in face and voice,
regardless of valence
Right vs. left hemisphere
• Laterality hypothesis:
– RH dominant for emotion processing, regardless of valence
• Valence hypothesis:
– A. RH dominant negative emotions, LH dominant positive
– B. RH dominant perception all emotions, experience and
expression RH and LH dominance depends on valance.
Site within the hemispheres
Frontal, temporal, parietal
• matching faces on expression (Kolb & Taylor, 2000):
– RH frontal, temporal, parietal group and LH frontal groups
impaired on fear and disgust
– no impairments for happy, sad, angry, surprise
• matching faces to emotional cartoon
– RH and LH frontal and temporal patients impaired on all
• patients with ventral frontal lesions (Hornak et al., 1996):
– impaired in recognising expressions in voice and face,
compared to patients with lesions in other areas (e.g.
Recognition of expressions
• Patients with amygdala lesions:
– Selective impairment for fear
• incorrect label or low rating of intensity
– Expressions in the face, voice or body postures (Scott
et al., 1997; Sprengelmeyer et al., 1999)
– problem of task difficulty
• Normal subjects
– Presentation of expressions of fear: increase in
rCBF in (L) amygdala
– Increase amygdala activation even when subjects
were not aware of CS or fearful face
• Selective impairments in recognition disgust
– symptomatic Huntington’s disease (Sprengelmeyer et al., 1996)
– Huntington’s gene carriers (Gray et al., 1997)
– not confirmed by later studies (Milders et al., 2003)
– patient with lesions in the left insula and the basal ganglia
(putamen, globus pallidus and part of the caudate nucleus),
caused by an infarction: selective impairment at recognising
facial as well as vocal expressions of disgust (Calder et al, 2000).
Further reading in:
Adolphs R, Tranel D, Hamann S, Young AW, Calder AJ, Phelps EA, Anderson A, Lee GP, Damasio AR. Recognition of facial
emotion in nine individuals with bilateral amygdala damage. Neuropsychologia 1999; 37: 1111-7.
Borod, J., Bloom, R., Brickman, A., Nakhutina, L., Curko, E. (2002). Emotional processing deficits in individuals with unilateral
brain damage. Applied Neuropsychology, 9, 23-36. In Heavy Demand (ask at issue desk).
Calder AJ, Keane J, Manes F, Antoun N, Young AW. Impaired recognition and experience of disgust following brain injury.
Nature Neuroscience 2002; 3: 1077-78
Milders, M., Crawford, J.R., Lamb, A. Simpson, S.A. (2003). Differential deficits in expression recognition in gene-carriers and
patients with Huntington’s disease. Neuropsychologia, 41, 1484-1492.
Morris JS, Frith CD, Perrett DI, Rowlands D, Young AW, Calder AJ, Dolan RJ. A differential neural response in the human
amygdala to fearful and happy facial expressions, Nature 1996; 383: 812-15
Phillips, M., Drevets, W., Rauch, S. & Lane,R. (2003). Neurobiology of emotion perception I: The neural basis of normal emotion
perception. Biological Psychiatry, 54, 504-514.
Sprengelmeyer R, Young AW, Calder AJ, Karnat A, Lange H, Homberg V, Perrett DI, Rowland D. Loss of disgust. Perception of
faces and emotions in Huntington's disease. Brain 1996; 119: 1647-65.
Sprengelmeyer R, Young AW, Schroeder U, Grossenbacher PG, Federlein J, Buttner T, Przuntek H. Knowing no fear.
Proceedings of the Royal Society, London 1999; B266: 2451-56.
Whalen PJ, Rauch SL, Etcoff NL, McInerney SC, Lee MB, Jenike MA. Masked presentation of emotional facial expressions
modulate amydala activity without explicit knowledge. Journal of Neuroscience 1998; 18: 411-18.
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