Macquarie University
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Emotion recognition in mild cognitive impairment

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posted on 2022-03-28, 20:18 authored by Donna McCade
The aims of this research were firstly, to investigate whether emotion recognition abilities differ amongst Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) subtypes and secondly, to explore the real-life implications of emotion recognition deficits in MCI patients. In Study 1, 19 MCI patients with predominantly impaired memory (i.e., amnestic MCI; aMCI), 18 MCI patients with non-memory deficits (i.e., non-amnestic MCI; naMCI) and 19 age- and education-matched healthy control subjects were assessed with three emotion recognition tests differing in task demands (i.e., the provision of response prompts, facial or bodily displays of affect). Emotion recognition deficits were shown for aMCI, but not naMCI, patients regardless of task demands, with anger recognition selectively impaired. In Study 2, the emotion recognition abilities of 29 aMCI patients, 27 naMCI patients, and 22 control subjects were assessed. Self-report measures assessed subject functional disability, whilst informants rated caregiver burden. An emotion recognition deficit for anger was evident again for the amnestic subtype. Whilst patient groups reported greater social dysfunction than control subjects, a relationship between social functioning and anger recognition was evident only for naMCI patients. Caregiver burden and anger recognition were significantly associated for aMCI patients. Results suggest that impaired emotion recognition abilities are differentially affected in MCI subtypes potentially reflecting diverse degeneration of brain structures modulating emotional processing. Screening to detect emotion recognition impairment in MCI patients and interventions targeted at patients and caregivers is warranted.


Table of Contents

1. Dementia and the concept of mild cognitive impairment -- 2. Literature review: emotion recognition and mild cognitive impairment -- 3. Mild cognitive impairment and emotion recognition: research aims and hypotheses -- 4. Study 1 -- 5. Study 2 -- 6. Discussion.


Empirical thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Neuropsychology), Macquarie University, 2012. Thesis by publication. Includes bibliographical references

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis professional doctorate


Thesis (DPsych (Clinical Neuropsychology)), Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Sharon Naismith

Additional Supervisor 1

Gregory Savage

Additional Supervisor 2

Jennifer Batchelor


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Donna McCade 2012.




1 online resource (xii, 214 pages)

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