Neuroanatomy of pathological laughing and crying: a report of the American Neuropsychiatric Association Committee on Research

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2009 Winter;21(1):75-87. doi: 10.1176/jnp.2009.21.1.75.


Pathological laughing and crying (PLC) is a clinical condition that occurs in patients with various neurological disorders. It is characterized by the presence of episodic and contextually inappropriate or merely exaggerated outbursts of laughter and/or crying without commensurate feelings. This review provides an in depth analysis of the neuroanatomy of lesions seen in patients with this clinical condition, discusses the relevant functional neuroimaging and electrophysiological stimulation studies in human subjects, and summarizes the current treatment options. It concludes with a presentation of the remaining questions and directions for future research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology*
  • Crying*
  • Humans
  • Laughter*
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / pathology*
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / complications
  • Phenotype
  • Stroke / complications
  • Terminology as Topic