Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 125, Issue 12, pp 1819–1827 | Cite as

Emotional facedness in Parkinson’s disease

  • Lucia RicciardiEmail author
  • Federica Visco-Comandini
  • Roberto Erro
  • Francesca Morgante
  • Daniele Volpe
  • James Kilner
  • Mark J. Edwards
  • Matteo BolognaEmail author
Neurology and Preclinical Neurological Studies - Original Article


People with Parkinson’s disease (PD) have a deficit of facial expression. Previous studies indicate that hemispheric dominance for emotional processing can give rise to an asymmetric pattern of facial expression of emotion. In this study, we aimed to evaluate possible asymmetry in facial emotion expressivity in PD. Twenty PD patients and twenty healthy controls were video-recorded while posing the 6 basic emotions. The most expressive pictures were derived from the videos and chimeric faces were created. Nine healthy raters were asked to judge which of the two chimeras looked more expressive. Chosen responses, reaction times and confidence levels were the main outcome measures. We evaluated possible differences in these measures within each group and between groups (PD, healthy controls). We assessed possible correlations between a global facial laterality index (pooling all emotions together) as well as facial laterality indexes for each emotion and the body laterality index, accounting for the predominant side of limb bradykinesia in patients. There was no difference in outcome measures when evaluating the two hemifaces within PD patients and healthy controls or between the two groups (all Ps > 0.05). In PD patients there was a correlation between the global facial laterality index and the body laterality index (R = − 0.39, P = 0.01), suggesting that the most expressive hemiface corresponded to the less affected body side. The results of our study do not support the hypothesis of hemisphere predominance in regulating facial emotion expressions and provides novel information on altered facial emotion expression in PD.


Parkinson’s disease Emotion Laterality Asymmetry Expressivity 



Beck depression inventory


Chosen response


Confidence level




Healthy controls






Levodopa equivalent daily dose




Mini mental state examination


Parkinson’s disease


Reaction time





This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucia Ricciardi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Federica Visco-Comandini
    • 2
  • Roberto Erro
    • 3
  • Francesca Morgante
    • 1
    • 4
  • Daniele Volpe
    • 5
  • James Kilner
    • 2
  • Mark J. Edwards
    • 1
  • Matteo Bologna
    • 6
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Neurosciences Research Centre, Molecular and Clinical Sciences InstituteSt George’s University of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, UCL Institute of NeurologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of Medicine, Surgery and Dentistry, Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (CEMAND)University of SalernoFiscianoItaly
  4. 4.Department of Clinical and Experimental MedicineUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  5. 5.Neurorehabilitation DepartmentCasa di Cura “Villa Margherita”VicenzaItaly
  6. 6.Department of Human NeurosciencesSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  7. 7.IRCCS NeuromedPozzilliItaly

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