Processing and memory for emotional and neutral material in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Marion Cuddy, Benjamin J. Papps, Madhav Thambisetty, P. Nigel Leigh, Laura H. Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Several studies have reported changes in emotional memory and processing in people with ALS (pwALS). In this study, we sought to analyse differences in emotional processing and memory between pwALS and healthy controls and to investigate the relationship between emotional memory and self-reported depression. Nineteen pwALS and 19 healthy controls were assessed on measures of emotional processing, emotional memory, verbal memory and depression. Although pwALS and controls did not differ significantly on measures of emotional memory, a subgroup of patients performed poorly on an emotional recognition task. With regard to emotional processing, pwALS gave significantly stronger ratings of emotional valence to positive words than to negative words. Higher ratings of emotional words were associated with better recall in controls but not pwALS. Self-reported depression and emotional processing or memory variables were not associated in either group. In conclusion, the results from this small study suggest that a subgroup of pwALS may show weakened 'emotional enhancement', although in the current sample this may reflect general memory impairment rather than specific changes in emotional memory. Nonetheless, different patterns of processing of emotionally-salient material by pwALS may have care and management-related implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-598
Number of pages7
JournalAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (United Kingdom)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


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