Embodied emotion impairment in Huntington's Disease

Iris Trinkler, Sévérine Devignevielle, Amal Achaibou, Romain V Ligneul, Pierre Brugières, Laurent Cleret de Langavant, Beatrice De Gelder, Rachael Scahill, Sophie Schwartz, Anne-Catherine Bachoud-Lévi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Theories of embodied cognition suggest that perceiving an emotion involves somatovisceral and motoric re-experiencing. Here we suggest taking such an embodied stance when looking at emotion processing deficits in patients with Huntington's Disease (HD), a neurodegenerative motor disorder. The literature on these patients' emotion recognition deficit has recently been enriched by some reports of impaired emotion expression. The goal of the study was to find out if expression deficits might be linked to a more motoric level of impairment. We used electromyography (EMG) to compare voluntary emotion expression from words to emotion imitation from static face images, and spontaneous emotion mimicry in 28 HD patients and 24 matched controls. For the latter two imitation conditions, an underlying emotion understanding is not imperative (even though performance might be helped by it). EMG measures were compared to emotion recognition and to the capacity to identify and describe emotions using alexithymia questionnaires. Alexithymia questionnaires tap into the more somato-visceral or interoceptive aspects of emotion perception. Furthermore, we correlated patients' expression and recognition scores to cerebral grey matter volume using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). EMG results replicated impaired voluntary emotion expression in HD. Critically, voluntary imitation and spontaneous mimicry were equally impaired and correlated with impaired recognition. By contrast, alexithymia scores were normal, suggesting that emotion representations on the level of internal experience might be spared. Recognition correlated with brain volume in the caudate as well as in areas previously associated with shared action representations, namely somatosensory, posterior parietal, posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) and subcentral sulcus. Together, these findings indicate that in these patients emotion deficits might be tied to the "motoric level" of emotion expression. Such a double-sided recognition and expression impairment may have important consequences, interrupting empathy in nonverbal communication both ways (understanding and being understood), independently of intact internal experience of emotion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-56
Number of pages13
JournalCortex
Volume92
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

Keywords

  • Embodiment
  • Huntington's Disease
  • Emotion expression
  • Electromyography
  • Empathy
  • POSED FACIAL EXPRESSIONS
  • VOXEL-BASED MORPHOMETRY
  • PARKINSONS-DISEASE
  • SOCIAL COGNITION
  • FRONTOTEMPORAL DEMENTIA
  • NEURAL MECHANISMS
  • FACE PERCEPTION
  • RECOGNITION
  • BRAIN
  • AWARENESS

Cite this

Trinkler, I., Devignevielle, S., Achaibou, A., Ligneul, R. V., Brugières, P., Cleret de Langavant, L., ... Bachoud-Lévi, A-C. (2017). Embodied emotion impairment in Huntington's Disease. Cortex, 92, 44-56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2017.02.019
Trinkler, Iris ; Devignevielle, Sévérine ; Achaibou, Amal ; Ligneul, Romain V ; Brugières, Pierre ; Cleret de Langavant, Laurent ; De Gelder, Beatrice ; Scahill, Rachael ; Schwartz, Sophie ; Bachoud-Lévi, Anne-Catherine. / Embodied emotion impairment in Huntington's Disease. In: Cortex. 2017 ; Vol. 92. pp. 44-56.
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abstract = "Theories of embodied cognition suggest that perceiving an emotion involves somatovisceral and motoric re-experiencing. Here we suggest taking such an embodied stance when looking at emotion processing deficits in patients with Huntington's Disease (HD), a neurodegenerative motor disorder. The literature on these patients' emotion recognition deficit has recently been enriched by some reports of impaired emotion expression. The goal of the study was to find out if expression deficits might be linked to a more motoric level of impairment. We used electromyography (EMG) to compare voluntary emotion expression from words to emotion imitation from static face images, and spontaneous emotion mimicry in 28 HD patients and 24 matched controls. For the latter two imitation conditions, an underlying emotion understanding is not imperative (even though performance might be helped by it). EMG measures were compared to emotion recognition and to the capacity to identify and describe emotions using alexithymia questionnaires. Alexithymia questionnaires tap into the more somato-visceral or interoceptive aspects of emotion perception. Furthermore, we correlated patients' expression and recognition scores to cerebral grey matter volume using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). EMG results replicated impaired voluntary emotion expression in HD. Critically, voluntary imitation and spontaneous mimicry were equally impaired and correlated with impaired recognition. By contrast, alexithymia scores were normal, suggesting that emotion representations on the level of internal experience might be spared. Recognition correlated with brain volume in the caudate as well as in areas previously associated with shared action representations, namely somatosensory, posterior parietal, posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) and subcentral sulcus. Together, these findings indicate that in these patients emotion deficits might be tied to the {"}motoric level{"} of emotion expression. Such a double-sided recognition and expression impairment may have important consequences, interrupting empathy in nonverbal communication both ways (understanding and being understood), independently of intact internal experience of emotion.",
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Trinkler, I, Devignevielle, S, Achaibou, A, Ligneul, RV, Brugières, P, Cleret de Langavant, L, De Gelder, B, Scahill, R, Schwartz, S & Bachoud-Lévi, A-C 2017, 'Embodied emotion impairment in Huntington's Disease', Cortex, vol. 92, pp. 44-56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2017.02.019

Embodied emotion impairment in Huntington's Disease. / Trinkler, Iris; Devignevielle, Sévérine; Achaibou, Amal; Ligneul, Romain V; Brugières, Pierre; Cleret de Langavant, Laurent; De Gelder, Beatrice; Scahill, Rachael; Schwartz, Sophie; Bachoud-Lévi, Anne-Catherine.

In: Cortex, Vol. 92, 07.2017, p. 44-56.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Trinkler, Iris

AU - Devignevielle, Sévérine

AU - Achaibou, Amal

AU - Ligneul, Romain V

AU - Brugières, Pierre

AU - Cleret de Langavant, Laurent

AU - De Gelder, Beatrice

AU - Scahill, Rachael

AU - Schwartz, Sophie

AU - Bachoud-Lévi, Anne-Catherine

N1 - Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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N2 - Theories of embodied cognition suggest that perceiving an emotion involves somatovisceral and motoric re-experiencing. Here we suggest taking such an embodied stance when looking at emotion processing deficits in patients with Huntington's Disease (HD), a neurodegenerative motor disorder. The literature on these patients' emotion recognition deficit has recently been enriched by some reports of impaired emotion expression. The goal of the study was to find out if expression deficits might be linked to a more motoric level of impairment. We used electromyography (EMG) to compare voluntary emotion expression from words to emotion imitation from static face images, and spontaneous emotion mimicry in 28 HD patients and 24 matched controls. For the latter two imitation conditions, an underlying emotion understanding is not imperative (even though performance might be helped by it). EMG measures were compared to emotion recognition and to the capacity to identify and describe emotions using alexithymia questionnaires. Alexithymia questionnaires tap into the more somato-visceral or interoceptive aspects of emotion perception. Furthermore, we correlated patients' expression and recognition scores to cerebral grey matter volume using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). EMG results replicated impaired voluntary emotion expression in HD. Critically, voluntary imitation and spontaneous mimicry were equally impaired and correlated with impaired recognition. By contrast, alexithymia scores were normal, suggesting that emotion representations on the level of internal experience might be spared. Recognition correlated with brain volume in the caudate as well as in areas previously associated with shared action representations, namely somatosensory, posterior parietal, posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) and subcentral sulcus. Together, these findings indicate that in these patients emotion deficits might be tied to the "motoric level" of emotion expression. Such a double-sided recognition and expression impairment may have important consequences, interrupting empathy in nonverbal communication both ways (understanding and being understood), independently of intact internal experience of emotion.

AB - Theories of embodied cognition suggest that perceiving an emotion involves somatovisceral and motoric re-experiencing. Here we suggest taking such an embodied stance when looking at emotion processing deficits in patients with Huntington's Disease (HD), a neurodegenerative motor disorder. The literature on these patients' emotion recognition deficit has recently been enriched by some reports of impaired emotion expression. The goal of the study was to find out if expression deficits might be linked to a more motoric level of impairment. We used electromyography (EMG) to compare voluntary emotion expression from words to emotion imitation from static face images, and spontaneous emotion mimicry in 28 HD patients and 24 matched controls. For the latter two imitation conditions, an underlying emotion understanding is not imperative (even though performance might be helped by it). EMG measures were compared to emotion recognition and to the capacity to identify and describe emotions using alexithymia questionnaires. Alexithymia questionnaires tap into the more somato-visceral or interoceptive aspects of emotion perception. Furthermore, we correlated patients' expression and recognition scores to cerebral grey matter volume using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). EMG results replicated impaired voluntary emotion expression in HD. Critically, voluntary imitation and spontaneous mimicry were equally impaired and correlated with impaired recognition. By contrast, alexithymia scores were normal, suggesting that emotion representations on the level of internal experience might be spared. Recognition correlated with brain volume in the caudate as well as in areas previously associated with shared action representations, namely somatosensory, posterior parietal, posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) and subcentral sulcus. Together, these findings indicate that in these patients emotion deficits might be tied to the "motoric level" of emotion expression. Such a double-sided recognition and expression impairment may have important consequences, interrupting empathy in nonverbal communication both ways (understanding and being understood), independently of intact internal experience of emotion.

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KW - VOXEL-BASED MORPHOMETRY

KW - PARKINSONS-DISEASE

KW - SOCIAL COGNITION

KW - FRONTOTEMPORAL DEMENTIA

KW - NEURAL MECHANISMS

KW - FACE PERCEPTION

KW - RECOGNITION

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KW - AWARENESS

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Trinkler I, Devignevielle S, Achaibou A, Ligneul RV, Brugières P, Cleret de Langavant L et al. Embodied emotion impairment in Huntington's Disease. Cortex. 2017 Jul;92:44-56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2017.02.019