Emotion recognition deficits exist in mild cognitive impairment, but only in the amnestic subtype

Donna McCade, Greg Savage, Adam Guastella, Simon J. G. Lewis, Sharon L. Naismith*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Emotion recognition is impaired in dementia and there is some initial evidence to suggest that milder deficits may be present in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) patients, an "at risk" population for transition to dementia. In this study, we investigated the emotion recognition profile of MCI subgroups. Results show emotion recognition deficits exist for the amnestic subtype with impairment in multiple domains, with an emotion-specific deficit for anger recognition. Impaired emotion recognition in aMCI was independent of patient mood and cognitive deficits. The study is the first to examine the nonamnestic subtype. No emotion recognition deficits were found. This finding is surprising given the association between the nonamnestic subtype and frontal systems dysfunction. Impaired emotion recognition could be related to the selective pathophysiology in neural pathways, particularly the temporal lobe and connected limbic and prefrontal regions, implicated in both aMCI and emotion processing. These findings may have implications for early diagnosis, prognosis, and clinical management.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)840-852
    Number of pages13
    JournalPsychology and Aging
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


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