Assessing the integrity of the cognitive processes involved in belief reasoning by means of two nonverbal tasks: rationale, normative data collection and illustration with brain-damaged patients

Aurélie Biervoye, Gaëlle Meert, Ian A Apperly, Dana Samson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
212 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Every day, we engage in social interactions with other people which require understanding their as well as our own mental states. Such capacity is commonly referred to as Theory of Mind (ToM). Disturbances of ToM are often reported in diverse pathologies which affect brain functioning and lead to problems in social interactions. Identifying ToM deficits is thus crucial to guide the clinicians in the establishment of adequate rehabilitation strategies for patients. Previous studies have demonstrated that ToM is not a unitary function yet currently there are very few standardized tests which allow identifying the type of cognitive processes affected when a patient exhibits a ToM deficit. In the current study, we present two belief reasoning tasks which have been used in previous research to disentangle two types of processes involved in belief reasoning: self-perspective inhibition and the spontaneous inference of another person's belief. A three-step procedure was developed to provide clinicians with the tools to interpret the patients' performances on the tasks. First, these tasks were standardized and normative data was collected on a sample of 124 healthy participants aged between 18 and 74. Data collected showed a decrease in performance as a function of age only in the task that loaded most in spontaneous other-perspective demands. There was however no effect of gender or educational level. Cut-off scores to identify deficits were then calculated for the different age groups separately. Secondly, the three-step procedure was applied to 21 brain-damaged patients and showed a large diversity of profiles, including selective deficits of the two targeted ToM processes. The diversity of profiles shows the importance to take into account the multiple facets of ToM during the diagnosis and rehabilitation of patients with suspected ToM deficits.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0190295
Number of pages29
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Injuries/complications
  • Cognition
  • Cognition Disorders/complications
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Young Adult

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing the integrity of the cognitive processes involved in belief reasoning by means of two nonverbal tasks: rationale, normative data collection and illustration with brain-damaged patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this