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Knowing no fear

By R Sprengelmeyer, AW Young, U Schroeder, PG Grossenbacher, J Federlein, T Buttner and H Przuntek


People with brain injuries involving the amygdala are often poor at recognizing facial expressions of fear, but the extent to which this impairment compromises other signals of the emotion of fear has not been clearly established. We investigated N.M., a person with bilateral amygdala damage and a left thalamic lesion, who was impaired at recognizing fear from facial expressions. N.M. showed an equivalent deficit affecting fear recognition from body postures and emotional sounds. His deficit of fear recognition was not linked to evidence of any problem in recognizing anger (a common feature in other reports), but for his everyday experience of emotion N.M. reported reduced anger and fear compared with neurologically normal controls. These findings show a specific deficit compromising the recognition of the emotion of fear from a wide range of social signals, and suggest a possible relationship of this type of impairment with alterations of emotional experience

Year: 1999
DOI identifier: 10.1098/rspb.1999.0945
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:1321

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