Recognition of Musical Emotions in the Behavioral Variant of Frontotemporal Dementia


Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría (English Edition)




INTRODUCTION: Multiple investigations have revealed that patients with behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) experience difficulty recognizing emotional signals in multiple processing modalities (e.g., faces, prosody). Few studies have evaluated the recognition of musical emotions in these patients. This research aims to evaluate the ability of subjects with bvFTD to recognize musical stimuli with positive and negative emotions, in comparison with healthy subjects. METHODS: bvFTD (n=12) and healthy control participants (n=24) underwent a test of musical emotion recognition: 56 fragments of piano music were randomly reproduced, 14 for each of the emotions (happiness, sadness, fear, and peacefulness). RESULTS: In the subjects with bvFTD, a mean of correct answers of 23.6 (42.26%) was observed in contrast to the control subjects, where the average number of correct answers was 36.3 (64.8%). Statistically significant differences were found for each of the evaluated musical emotions and in the total score on the performed test (P< .01). The within-group analysis showed greater difficulty for both groups in recognizing negative musical emotions (sadness, fear), with the subjects with bvFTD exhibiting worse performance. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that the recognition of musical stimuli with positive (happiness, peacefulness) and negative (sadness, fear) emotions are compromised in patients with bvFTD. The processing of negative musical emotions is the most difficult for these individuals.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Cognitive Abilities; Emotional Functioning; Memory; Music and Cognition; Music Listening; Music Perception; Neurodegenerative Disorders

Indexed Terms

Emotions; Frontotemporal Dementia; Happiness; Recognition, Psychology; Auditory perception; Cognitive dysfunction; Demencia frontotemporal; Disfunción cognitiva; Frontotemporal dementia; Música; Neurocognitive disorders; Percepción auditiva; Trastornos neurocognoscitivos

Study Type

Randomized Controlled; Trial; Quantitative Methods

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Document Type