An investigation into the structural and functional neural mechanisms involved in theory of mind impairments in stroke patients: a combined fMRI, VLSM and DTI study

Horne, Kristina (2014). An investigation into the structural and functional neural mechanisms involved in theory of mind impairments in stroke patients: a combined fMRI, VLSM and DTI study Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Horne, Kristina
Thesis Title An investigation into the structural and functional neural mechanisms involved in theory of mind impairments in stroke patients: a combined fMRI, VLSM and DTI study
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2014-10-08
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Dr Pascal Molenberghs
Total pages 78
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary One of the most debilitating social cognitive impairments experienced post-stroke is an impaired ability to attribute mental states to others, also known as Theory of Mind (ToM). The current study used a multi-methodological approach to investigate the functional and structural neural basis of ToM impairments in stroke patients. Using a ToM task called the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test (RMET), fMRI was used both in healthy participants and stroke patients to identify the functional network involved in ToM and how it is affected by stroke. In addition, voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping (VLSM) was conducted in stroke patients to determine which lesion sites are associated with poor performance on the RMET, thereby determining the critical brain regions for ToM ability. Finally, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was conducted to investigate how specific lesion sites can lead to widespread functional changes due to damaged white matter pathways. The fMRI results indicated that regions such as the posterior inferior frontal gyrus (pIFG), medial prefrontal cortex, posterior superior temporal sulcus and temporoparietal junction are involved in ToM ability, and that this functional network may be affected by stroke. Furthermore, specific lesion sites within the right frontal lobe, such as the pIFG, insula and prefrontal gyrus were associated with impaired performance on the RMET. However, the little overlap between this functional network and the critical regions for ToM, together with the DTI results, suggests that these specific lesion sites may lead to functional changes in an intact ToM network, due to the damaged white matter pathways between these areas. Therefore, this study highlights the importance of using a multimethodological approach, to achieve a better understanding of the ToM impairments
Keyword Post-stroke
Social cognitive impairments
ToM
fMRI
VLSM
DTI

 
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Created: Wed, 29 Apr 2015, 14:51:44 EST by Louise Grainger on behalf of School of Psychology