Impaired emotion processing from vocal and facial cues in frontotemporal dementia compared to right hemisphere stroke

Chinar Dara, Lindsey Kirsch-Darrow, E. Ochfeld, Jamie Slenz, Anna Agranovich, Andreia Vasconcellos-Faria, Elliott Ross, Argye E. Hillis, Kathleen B. Kortte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


To advance our understanding about the emotional and cognitive deficits of patients with frontotemporal dementia with behavioral variant (bvFTD), the current study examined comprehension and expression of emotions from prosodic and facial cues in a 66-year-old woman. The patient diagnosed with bvFTD is compared to six patients with acute right hemisphere stroke. Recognition of emotion from prosodic cues was assessed using an identification task in four conditions with decreasing verbal demands (neutral sentences, language-like pseudo sentences, monosyllables, and asyllabic vowel sounds). Repetition of utterances with emotional connotations and self-generated conversations were analyzed to measure relative changes in mean fundamental frequency (f0), f0 variance, speech rate, and intensity along with the facial musculature pattern. The patient showed a marked deficit in identifying emotions in all four prosody conditions; and she did not show much variation in modulating mean f0, f0 variance, speech rate and intensity for all emotion categories when compared to neutral utterances. In addition, this patient demonstrated little to no facial expressions during emotionally provoking tasks, but demonstrated no difficulty recognizing emotions from facial expressions or verbal scenarios. Results show that the patient seems to have selective impairment in recognition of emotions from prosody and expression of emotions using both prosodic and facial features. Impaired processing of emotional prosody and facial expressions could be important for detecting bvFTD with greater right hemisphere atrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-529
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Emotion
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Neuropsychological assessment
  • Prosody
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology


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