Scientific article

Bihippocampal Damage with Emotional Dysfunction: Impaired Auditory Recognition of Fear

Published inEuropean Neurology, vol. 38, no. 4, p. 276-283
Publication date1997

A right-handed man developed a sudden transient, amnestic syndrome associated with bilateral hemorrhage of the hippocampi, probably due to Urbach-Wiethe disease. In the 3rd month, despite significant hippocampal structural damage on imaging, only a milder degree of retrograde and anterograde amnesia persisted on detailed neuropsychological examination. On systematic testing of recognition of facial and vocal expression of emotion, we found an impairment of the vocal perception of fear, but not that of other emotions, such as joy, sadness and anger. Such selective impairment of fear perception was not present in the recognition of facial expression of emotion. Thus emotional perception varies according to the different aspects of emotions and the different modality of presentation (faces versus voices). This is consistent with the idea that there may be multiple emotion systems. The study of emotional perception in this unique case of bilateral involvement of hippocampus suggests that this structure may play a critical role in the recognition of fear in vocal expression, possibly dissociated from that of other emotions and from that of fear in facial expression. In regard of recent data suggesting that the amygdala is playing a role in the recognition of fear in the auditory as well as in the visual modality this could suggest that the hippocampus may be part of the auditory pathway of fear recognition.

  • Hippocampus
  • Emotional perception
  • Memory
  • Urbach-Wiethe disease
  • Hematoma
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
GHIKA-SCHMID, Florence et al. Bihippocampal Damage with Emotional Dysfunction: Impaired Auditory Recognition of Fear. In: European Neurology, 1997, vol. 38, n° 4, p. 276–283. doi: 10.1159/000113394
ISSN of the journal0014-3022

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