Emotion perception in Alzheimer’s disease and mood disorder in old age

Louise H. Phillips, Clare Scott, Julie D. Henry, Donald Mowat, J. Stephen Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Citations (Scopus)


Difficulties in understanding emotional signals might have important implications for social interactions in old age. In this study we investigated emotion perception skills involved in decoding facial expressions of emotion in healthy older adults, compared with those with Alzheimer's disease (AD) or late-life mood disorder (MD). Although those with MD were mildly impaired in identifying emotional expressions, this was not caused by negative biases in choosing labels. Emotion decoding performance in AD was much more impaired, particularly when relatively subtle expressions were presented. Difficulties in choosing between labels to describe an emotional face were predicted by executive dysfunction, whereas impaired ability to match 2 emotional faces was related to general difficulties with face perception. Across all 3 groups, problems with emotion perception predicted quality of life independently of variance predicted by cognitive function and mood, indicating the potential importance of emotion decoding skills in the well-being of older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-47
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • emotion perception
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • late-life mood disorder
  • quality-of-life
  • facial expressions
  • depression
  • recognition
  • dementia
  • biases
  • schizophrenia
  • impairment
  • behavior
  • deficits


Dive into the research topics of 'Emotion perception in Alzheimer’s disease and mood disorder in old age'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this