Emotion recognition in Multiple Sclerosis

  • C. Pinto
  • F. Gomes
  • I. Moreira
  • B. Rosa
  • E. Santos
  • A. M. Silva


The effect of multiple sclerosis (MS) on the ability to identify emotional expressions in faces was investigated, and possible associations with patients’ characteristics were explored. 56 non-demented MS patients and 56 healthy subjects (HS) with similar demographic characteristics performed an emotion recognition task (ERT), the Benton Facial Recognition Test (BFRT), and answered the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Additionally, MS patients underwent a neurological examination and a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation. The ERT consisted of 42 pictures of faces (depicting anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise and neutral expressions) from the NimStim set. An iViewX high-speed eye tracker was used to record eye movements during ERT. The fixation times were calculated for two regions of interest (i.e., eyes and rest of the face). No significant differences were found between MS and HC on ERT’s behavioral and oculomotor measures. Bivariate and multiple regression analyses revealed significant associations between ERT’s behavioral performance and demographic, clinical, psychopathological, and cognitive measures.

Key Words multiple sclerosis, emotion recognition, depression

Emotion recognition in Multiple Sclerosis