Music Appreciation Phenotypes in Patients With Frontotemporal Dementia: A Pilot Study


International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry




OBJECTIVES: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) can present with changes in music appreciation. Research has suggested a relationship of altered music appreciation phenotypes with typical socio-emotional changes. We aimed to determine the prevalence and severity of music appreciation phenotypes in FTD and study the relationship with emotion recognition capacities in order to examine whether they could serve as a proxy for changes in socio-emotional functioning. METHODS/DESIGN: Based on reported musical changes in the literature, we developed an informant-based questionnaire to assess musical changes and a music test to assess music emotion recognition. Social cognition was assessed with the Ekman 60 faces test in a subgroup of patients (n = 23). Relationships between measures were assessed with linear regressions. RESULTS: We included 47 patients (44.7% female, mean age 65.0 ± 8.4, 31 behavioral variant FTD (bvFTD), 10 semantic dementia (SD), and six progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA)). Thirty-six caregivers were included in the music emotion recognition test as controls. Altered music appreciation phenotypes were observed in 79% of the FTD patients. Musicophilia was present in a third of bvFTD patients, and only in up to 10% in language FTD variants. Changes in music appreciation were not associated with decreased music emotion recognition or visual emotion recognition. Compared to controls, bvFTD performed worse on the music emotion recognition task (p < 0.003), and no differences were found with SD (p = 0.06) and PNFA patients (p = 0.8). CONCLUSIONS: Music appreciation phenotypes are highly prevalent in FTD patients. Future studies should further investigate the potential diagnostic value of changes in music processing.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Caregivers; Elderly; Emotional Functioning; Music Listening; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Questionnaires

Indexed Terms

Frontotemporal Dementia; Neuropsychological Tests; Phenotype; Pilot Projects; emotion recognition; frontotemporal dementia; musicophilia; social cognition

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type