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August 1991

Perception of Affect in Patients With Dementia of the Alzheimer Type

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston (Drs Albert and Cohen); and the Department of Psychology, Wellesley (Mass) College (Dr Koff).

Arch Neurol. 1991;48(8):791-795. doi:10.1001/archneur.1991.00530200027013

• The ability to perceive affect was examined in 19 patients with Alzheimer's disease and in 19 control subjects. Nine tasks were given. All participants were asked to recognize facial emotion, to provide verbal labels of facial emotion, and to identify emotion portrayed in drawings or in verbal descriptions of emotional situations. The results indicate that there are significant differences between patients with Alzheimer's disease and control subjects on all of the tasks. However, when test scores were adjusted for the cognitive abilities of the subjects, few of the tests continue to differentiate the groups. These results suggest that the deficits of patients with Alzheimer's disease on perception of affect tasks are likely to be the result of their cognitive defects and not the result of a primary impairment in the perception of emotion.

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