Medindia
Advertisement

New Tool to Diagnose Moral Emotions

by Colleen Fleiss on June 16, 2019 at 1:01 PM
Font : A-A+

New Tool to Diagnose Moral Emotions

In patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), marked impairment of moral emotions was observed, revealed study conducted by Marc Teichmann and Carole Azuar at the Brain and Spine Institute in Paris (France) and at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital. The results, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, open a new approach for early, sensitive and specific diagnosis of FTD.

Frontotemporal dementia is a cognitive and behavioral disease caused by degenerative alteration of anterior regions of the brain. The disease is characterized by behavioral disorders such as a progressive apathy, loss of interest, social withdrawal, loss of inhibition and the processing of emotions.

Advertisement


We have known for a long time that these patients demonstrate impairment of emotion recognition and of theory of mind i.e. the ability to figure out the mental states of others: what they think, what they feel, what they like... But does this emotional blunting also affect a specific kind of emotions called moral emotions, which are crucial for human interactions? » asks Marc Teichmann, coordinator of the study.

Moral emotions can be defined as « affective experiences promoting cooperation and group cohesion » including emotions such as admiration, shame or pity. They are distinct from other emotions in that they are strongly linked to the cultural context, moral rules and innate moral representations. In the context of FTD, which are primarily characterized by an impairment of behavior and social interactions, studying these particular set of emotions is a major issue to better understand the disease and to refine diagnostic accuracy.
Advertisement

In the present study, researchers and clinicians from the ICM - Brain and Spine Institute and the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital developed a test to assess moral emotions. It is composed of 42 scenarios for which the subject has to select, out of 4 response possibilities, the feeling s/he has in the scenario situation. La performance des patients FTD (N=22) are compared to the performance of 45 healthy subjects and to 15 patients with Alzheimer's disease. To evaluate the specificity of the impairment of moral emotions in FTD the researchers contrasted the 42 moral scenarios involving an inter-human context and eliciting moral emotions with scenarios eliciting similar emotions without any mral valence. For example, it is possible to feel admiration for both an altruistic act and the architecture of a building. In both cases, the emotion is identified as admiration but the context is entirely different (moral versus extra-moral).

The results show that moral emotions are much more impaired than emotions without moral valence. In contrast, patients with Alzheimer's disease had no impairment as compared to healthy subjects and they had similar performance with moral and extra-moral emotions.

Our novel test tool appears to provide an early, sensitive and specific marker for FTD diagnosis while reliably distinguishing FTD from Alzheimer's disease patients. It could also be a marker for other diseases involving the breakdown of moral emotions as for example in the case of psychopathic individuals. » concludes Marc Teichmann.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Sedentary Behavior Precipitates Night-Time Hot Flashes
Gonorrhea
World Alzheimer's Day 2021 - 'Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer's
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.


Recommended Reading
Dementia
Dementia has become a very big concern as we have an aging population across the world. Dementia is ...
Test Your Knowledge on Dementia
Dementia is a leading cause of disability in older people. It is a condition where brain cells are ....
Dementia Risk Calculator
Dementia Risk Calculator is a tool to find out the risk of dementia among people over the age of ......
Blood Pressure Drug Found to Decrease the Risk of Dementia
Data from clinical practice could be used to estimate the potential of drug prescriptions to delay ....

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use