A. J. Astell, K. C. Breen, H. J. Hockey, M. P. Ellis


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Society for Neuroscience Abstract Viewer and Itinerary Planner

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Abstract No. 240.12

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Selective atrophy of the amygdala in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) gives rise to expectations of impaired emotional processing and recognition. We investigated this prediction with two tasks designed to tap emotional recognition in people with AD and age-matched controls. In task one, ‘eyes and faces’ participants were required to identify a target emotion from a selection of either eyes or whole faces. Participants with AD performed as well as controls with both eyes and faces. Both groups identified ‘happy’ most easily and accurately and ‘disgust’ least. On task two, ’emotion in context’, the two groups were asked to describe photographs containing people in scenes depicting the same six basic emotions. Healthy older adults spontaneously labelled the emotions whereas people with AD only did so when prompted directly for this information. Taken together these findings suggest that AD does not impact on the ability to recognise emotions. However, it does seem to impair processing of emotional information in a social context.