Masked facies also known as hypomimia is the loss of facial expressions most commonly associated with Parkinson's disease. It is so named because the condition gives the affected person a fixed, mask-like expression. In Parkinson's disease, masking can develop as the progressive loss of motor control extends to the facial muscles as it does to other parts of the body. Masked facies can complicate an already difficult situation, alienating acquaintances who may be put off or disturbed by the apparent lack of emotional response. Facial masking may also occur with certain psychiatric or psychological disorders, but, in these cases, the cause is not related to the loss of muscle control but rather an emotional blunting sometimes referred to as reduced affect display or, in the case of schizophrenia , the flat affect.
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Facial emotion recognition in Parkinson's disease: A review and new hypotheses
Not all people with PD experience the same symptoms , or to the same severity. When people with PD have a mask-like expression, their face has less facial movements and appears less animated. The scientific term for this is hypomimia, which means a reduction in the expressiveness of the face that is marked by diminished animation and movement of the facial muscles. Interaction with others is a mixture of verbal and nonverbal communication, and facial expressions play a large role in the nonverbal communication, displaying our emotions and interest. When PD affects the facial muscles, causing a mask-like expression, many of the nonverbal cues are not present, which may lead to challenges communicating with others and negatively impact relationships. The relationships most often affected are those with family and friends, as well as relationships with healthcare providers. The emotion behind the words may be further compromised by a monotone voice , another symptom that makes it difficult for a person with PD to vary the tone of their voice.
Background: Humans spontaneously mimic the facial expressions of others, facilitating social interaction. This mimicking behavior may be impaired in individuals with Parkinson's disease, for whom the loss of facial movements is a clinical feature. Objective: To assess the presence of facial mimicry in patients with Parkinson's disease. Method: Twenty-seven non-depressed patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease and 28 age-matched controls had their facial muscles recorded with electromyography while they observed presentations of calm, happy, sad, angry, and fearful emotions.
We aimed to evaluate the ability to produce facial emotional expressions and to recognize facial emotional expressions produced by others in a group of PD patients and a group of healthy participants in order to explore the relationship between these two abilities and any differences between the two groups of participants. Twenty non-demented, non-depressed PD patients and twenty healthy participants HC matched for demographic characteristics were studied. The ability of recognizing emotional facial expressions was assessed with the Ekman faces test Emotion recognition task. Participants were video-recorded while posing facial expressions of 6 primary emotions happiness, sadness, surprise, disgust, fear and anger. The most expressive pictures for each emotion were derived from the videos.