Individuals with Parkinson disease (PD) display cognitive dysfunction. However, few studies have investigated how facial and musical emotion recognition are affected in individuals with PD.
To explore the relationship between facial and musical emotion recognition and executive functions in Chinese individuals with PD.
We showed 40 Chinese individuals with PD and 40 Chinese healthy controls 24 black-and-white portraits and 24 musical excerpts that were designed to express happiness, sadness, fear, and anger. Then, we used four tests to assess the participants’ executive functions, including the Trail Making Test (TMT), Clock Drawing Test (CDT), semantic Verbal Fluency Test (VFT), and Digit Span Test (DST).
The PD group showed significant impairment in recognizing anger from facial expressions, although their emotion recognition from musical excerpts was similar to that of the control group. Recognition of an angry face was significantly correlated to scores on the TMT and DST. Recognition of happy music was significantly correlated to the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression score, whereas recognition of angry music was significantly correlated to musical knowledge background. Recognition of happy, sad, or angry music was significantly correlated to tests of executive function, whereas recognition of fearful music was not.
The PD group showed impaired recognition of angry faces, which may be related to executive dysfunction. However, the PD group did not show any difficulties in recognizing emotions in music. This dissociation indicates that the mechanisms underlying the recognition of emotions in faces and music are partly independent.