Emotional conversations in Parkinson's disease

Academic Article


  • Objective: To learn how PD influences verbal description of emotional events. Background: Individuals with PD exhibit emotional processing deficits. Emotional experience likely involves several dimensions (e.g., valence, arousal, motor activation) subserved by a distributed modular network involving cortical, limbic, basal ganglia, diencephalic, and mesencephalic regions. Although the neurodegeneration in PD likely affects components in this network, little is known about how PD influences emotional processing. Because PD is associated with activation deficits, one could predict that the discourse of emotional experiences involving high activation would be reduced in patients with PD compared to control subjects. Alternatively, because patients with PD exhibit paradoxical sensitivity to externally evoked motor activation (kinesia paradoxica), it is possible that emotional stimuli may facilitate verbal emotional expression more so in patients with PD than in control subjects. Methods: The authors measured verbal descriptions of personal emotional experiences in subjects with PD and normal controls. Results: Compared with control subjects, individuals with PD showed a relative increase in the number of words spoken and in discourse duration when talking about emotional experiences that are usually associated with high levels of arousal and motor activation. Although the authors did not measure arousal or activation, prior research has shown that, when asked to recall an emotional experience, people will often re-experience the emotion previously experienced during that episode. Conclusions: Recalling emotional episodes induces verbal kinesia paradoxica in patients with PD. Although recall of these emotional episodes may have been associated with increased arousal and activation, the mechanism underlying emotional verbal kinesia paradoxica is unclear.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Neurology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Crucian GP; Huang L; Barrett AM; Schwartz RL; Cibula JE; Anderson JM; Triggs WJ; Bowers D; Friedman WA; Greer M
  • Start Page

  • 159
  • End Page

  • 165
  • Volume

  • 56
  • Issue

  • 2