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Does facial amimia impact the recognition of facial emotions? An EMG study in Parkinson's disease

Abstract : According to embodied simulation theory, understanding other people's emotions is fostered by facial mimicry. However, studies assessing the effect of facial mimicry on the recognition of emotion are still controversial. In Parkinson's disease (PD), one of the most distinctive clinical features is facial amimia, a reduction in facial expressiveness, but patients also show emotional disturbances. The present study used the pathological model of PD to examine the role of facial mimicry on emotion recognition by investigating EMG responses in PD patients during a facial emotion recognition task (anger, joy, neutral). Our results evidenced a significant decrease in facial mimicry for joy in PD, essentially linked to the absence of reaction of the zygomaticus major and the orbicularis oculi muscles in response to happy avatars, whereas facial mimicry for expressions of anger was relatively preserved. We also confirmed that PD patients were less accurate in recognizing positive and neutral facial expressions and highlighted a beneficial effect of facial mimicry on the recognition of emotion. We thus provide additional arguments for embodied simulation theory suggesting that facial mimicry is a potential lever for therapeutic actions in PD even if it seems not to be necessarily required in recognizing emotion as such. © 2016 Argaud et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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https://hal-univ-rennes1.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01367429
Contributor : Laurent Jonchère <>
Submitted on : Friday, September 16, 2016 - 10:24:44 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 10:42:01 AM

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S. Argaud, S. Delplanque, J.-F. Houvenaghel, Michel Auffret, J. Duprez, et al.. Does facial amimia impact the recognition of facial emotions? An EMG study in Parkinson's disease. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2016, 11 (7), pp.e0160329. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0160329⟩. ⟨hal-01367429⟩

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