Recent studies have suggested that the frontal and temporal variants of frontotemporal dementia (fvFTD and tvFTD) are both associated with impairments in emotional processing. However, the degree and type of emotional processing deficits in the two syndromes have not been previously compared. We used the Florida Affect Battery to examine recognition of facial expressions of emotion in fvFTD and tvFTD patients who have no evidence of visual perceptual difficulties for faces. In general, both groups were impaired at recognizing emotions compared with age-matched controls. In tvFTD, this deficit was limited to emotions with a negative valence (sadness, anger, fear), while fvFTD patients showed impairment for positive valence (happiness) as well. These results suggest that damage to frontal lobe regions in FTD may lead to more profound impairment in recognition of emotion than when damage is more limited to the temporal lobe.
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