The aim of this study was to investigate the ability of patients with dementia to recognize facial expressions and emotional situations. We evaluated 16 patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) and 15 with vascular dementia (VD) for general cognition, discrimination of facial expressions and individual faces, and recognition of facial expressions and emotional situations. VD patients performed significantly worse than DAT patients at recognizing facial emotions, even though there was no difference between them in their general cognition and visuoperceptual abilities. There was no significant difference between them in their ability to recognize emotional situations. The results of this and past studies suggest that caregivers in nursing homes and hospitals need to be aware that VD patients lose the ability to comprehend facial expressions.

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