Acquired theory of mind impairments in individuals with bilateral amygdala lesions

Stone, Valerie E., Baron-Cohen, Simon, Calder, Andrew, Keane, Jill and Young, Andrew (2003) Acquired theory of mind impairments in individuals with bilateral amygdala lesions. Neuropsychologia, 41 2: 209-220. doi:10.1016/S0028-3932(02)00151-3

Author Stone, Valerie E.
Baron-Cohen, Simon
Calder, Andrew
Keane, Jill
Young, Andrew
Title Acquired theory of mind impairments in individuals with bilateral amygdala lesions
Journal name Neuropsychologia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0028-3932
Publication date 2003
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/S0028-3932(02)00151-3
Volume 41
Issue 2
Start page 209
End page 220
Total pages 12
Place of publication Oxford
Publisher Pergamon-elsevier Science Ltd
Language eng
Subject 1701 Psychology
1702 Cognitive Sciences
1109 Neurosciences
Abstract Studies in humans suggest that the amygdala plays a role in processing social information. A key component of social information processing is what developmental psychologists call "theory of mind": the ability to infer others' mental states. Recent studies have raised the possibility that the amygdala is involved in theory of mind, showing amygdala activation during a theory of mind task, or showing impairment on theory of mind tasks in a patient with amygdala damage acquired in childhood. Here, we present the first evidence of theory of mind deficits following amygdala damage acquired in adulthood. Two participants, D.R. and S.E., with acquired bilateral amygdala damage showed difficulties with two theory of mind tasks, "Recognition of Faux Pas" (for D.R., z = -5.17; for S.E., z = -1.83) and "Reading the Mind in the Eyes" (for S.E., z = -1.91; for D.R., z = -1.4). The items on which D.R. and S.E. made errors on these tasks were uncorrelated with the items that control participants found most difficult, indicating that these deficits cannot be attributed solely to the cognitive difficulty of the tasks. These results indicate that the amygdala's critical role in theory of mind may not be just in development, but also in "on-line" theory of mind processing in the adult brain. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keyword Behavioral Sciences
Psychology, Experimental
theory of mind impairment
theory of mind
social intelligence
Face Processing Impairments
High-functioning Autism
Facial Expressions
Vocal Expressions
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 182 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 17 Oct 2007, 11:45:50 EST