Recovery of emotional functioning following stroke has received limited attention in the neuropsychological literature. By emotional functioning, we refer to a range of processing modes, including perception, expression, experience, and behavior. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the course of prosodic emotional expression over time in individuals with stroke. Posed prosodic expression tasks from the New York Emotion Battery were administered to right brain-damaged (RBD), left brain-damaged (LBD), and demographically matched normal control (NC) participants at two separate testing times (median interval of 25 months). Posers (i.e., individuals producing the emotional expressions) were required to produce neutral-content sentences using four different emotional tones (happiness, sadness, anger, and fear). Raters judged poser output for accuracy, intensity, and confidence. For accuracy ratings, RBDs and LBDs were impaired relative to NCs at baseline. In terms of recovery, there was a tendency for LBDs to improve over time, and there was a significant decline for RBDs. Inspection of the group mean data suggested that frontal lesions had a negative impact on prosodic emotional expression in RBDs and that lesion extent did not systematically influence performance at baseline or over time. Participants maintained their relative standing on the NYEB expression tasks over time. Finally, no significant relationships were found between participant performance on prosodic emotional perception and expression tasks at either testing time, suggesting that these two processing modes are relatively independent.

Author notes

This article was based, in part, on a master's thesis conducted by Luba Nakhutina at Queens College and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Initial data from this study were presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Baltimore, MD, February, 2004.