Dopaminergic Modulation of Dynamic Emotion Perception

Schuster, B. A.; Sowden, S.; Rybicki, A. J.; Fraser, D. S.; Press, C.; Holland, Peter and Cook, J. L.. 2022. Dopaminergic Modulation of Dynamic Emotion Perception. The Journal of Neuroscience, 42(21), pp. 4394-4400. ISSN 1529-2401 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Emotion recognition abilities are fundamental to our everyday social interaction. A large number of clinical populations show impairments in this domain, with emotion recognition atypicalities being particularly prevalent among disorders exhibiting a dopamine system disruption (e.g., Parkinson's disease). Although this suggests a role for dopamine in emotion recognition, studies employing dopamine manipulation in healthy volunteers have exhibited mixed neural findings and no behavioral modulation. Interestingly, while a dependence of dopaminergic drug effects on individual baseline dopamine function has been well established in other cognitive domains, the emotion recognition literature so far has failed to account for these possible interindividual differences. The present within-subjects study therefore tested the effects of the dopamine D2 antagonist haloperidol on emotion recognition from dynamic, whole-body stimuli while accounting for interindividual differences in baseline dopamine. A total of 33 healthy male and female adults rated emotional point-light walkers (PLWs) once after ingestion of 2.5 mg haloperidol and once after placebo. To evaluate potential mechanistic pathways of the dopaminergic modulation of emotion recognition, participants also performed motoric and counting-based indices of temporal processing. Confirming our hypotheses, effects of haloperidol on emotion recognition depended on baseline dopamine function, where individuals with low baseline dopamine showed enhanced, and those with high baseline dopamine decreased emotion recognition. Drug effects on emotion recognition were related to drug effects on movement-based and explicit timing mechanisms, indicating possible mediating effects of temporal processing. Results highlight the need for future studies to account for baseline dopamine and suggest putative mechanisms underlying the dopaminergic modulation of emotion recognition.

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cognition; dopamine; emotion; psychopharmacology; temporal processing; working memory

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22 March 2022Accepted
2 May 2022Published Online
25 May 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

12 Jun 2024 14:35

Last Modified:

12 Jun 2024 14:53

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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