Affective communication deficits associated with cerebellar degeneration

K. M. Heilman, S. A. Leon, D. B. Burtis, T. Ashizawa, S. H. Subramony

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The cerebellum has extensive connections with the frontal lobes. Cerebellar injury has been reported to induce frontal-executive cognitive dysfunction and blunting of affect. We examined a patient with idiopathic cerebellar degeneration with impaired family relationships attributed to an "emotional disconnection." Examination revealed ataxia, dysmetria, and adiadochokinesia more severe on the left and frontal-executive dysfunction; memory and cognitive functions were otherwise normal. Testing of emotional communication included assessments of emotional semantic knowledge, emotional prosody, and emotional facial expressions. Comprehension was normal but expression was severely impaired. Cerebellar dysfunction can cause a defect in facial and prosodic emotional communication. This work was authored as part of the Contributors' official duties as Employees of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 USC. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under US Law.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-26
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Affective prosody
  • Affective prosoplegia
  • Cerebellar degeneration
  • Emotional communication
  • Facial expressions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology


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