Emotional Prosody Processing in Epilepsy: Some Insights on Brain Reorganization

Front Hum Neurosci. 2018 Mar 13:12:92. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00092. eCollection 2018.


Drug resistant epilepsy is one of the most complex, multifactorial and polygenic neurological syndrome. Besides its dynamicity and variability, it still provides us with a model to study brain-behavior relationship, giving cues on the anatomy and functional representation of brain function. Given that onset zone of focal epileptic seizures often affects different anatomical areas, cortical but limited to one hemisphere, this condition also let us study the functional differences of the left and right cerebral hemispheres. One lateralized function in the human brain is emotional prosody, and it can be a useful ictal sign offering hints on the location of the epileptogenic zone. Besides its importance for effective communication, prosody is not considered an eloquent domain, making resective surgery on its neural correlates feasible. We performed an Electronic databases search (Medline and PsychINFO) from inception to July 2017 for studies about prosody in epilepsy. The search terms included "epilepsy," "seizure," "emotional prosody," and "vocal affect." This review focus on emotional prosody processing in epilepsy as it can give hints regarding plastic functional changes following seizures (preoperatively), resection (post operatively), and also as an ictal sign enabling the assessment of dynamic brain networks. Moreover, it is argued that such reorganization can help to preserve the expression and reception of emotional prosody as a central skill to develop appropriate social interactions.

Keywords: dissociations; ictal semiology; laterality; prosody; temporal lobe epilepsy; temporal lobectomy.

Publication types

  • Review