Theory of mind and the frontal lobes

Glauco C. Igliori, Benito P. Damasceno
2006 Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria  
BACKGROUND: Theory of mind (ToM) is the ability to attribute mental states to other individuals. Its cerebral organization is not enough established, even though the literature suggests the relevant role of the frontal lobes. OBEJECTIVE: To evaluate frontal lobe patients and controls in ToM tests. METHOD:We studied 20 patients with lesions limited to the frontal lobes (as shown by CT or MRI), and 10 normal control subjects by means of ToM tests (recognizing himself in mirrors, false belief,
more » ... , false belief, first and second order ToM tasks), as well as tests of other cognitive functions (counter-proofs). RESULTS: Patients and controls performed similarly in ToM tests. There was significant difference between frontal subgroups (left, right, bifrontal) in the double-bluff task (second order ToM) (p=0.021), without relation to verbal fluency (p=0.302) or delayed recall ability (p=0.159). The only two patients with deficits in ToM tasks had impairment of social behavior. CONCLUSION: Frontal lesions do not necessarily implicate in ToM deficits, which may occur when such lesions are associated to disturbance of social behavior.
doi:10.1590/s0004-282x2006000200006 pmid:16791356 fatcat:e4q7t5kncfh2rlj5rurdkiatru