The effect of cognitive status and visuospatial performance on affective theory of mind in Parkinson's disease
Audrey McKinlay,1,2 Michelle Albicini,2 Phillip S Kavanagh3
1Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand; 2Department of Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University Clayton, VIC, Australia; 3School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy, University of South Australia, ADL, Australia
Abstract: It is now well accepted that theory of mind (ToM) functioning is impaired in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. However, what remain unknown are the functions that underlie this impairment. It has been suggested that cognitive skills may be key in this area of functioning; however, many of the cognitive tests used to assess this have relied on intact visuospatial abilities. This study aimed to examine whether deficits in ToM were generated by cognitive or visuospatial dysfunction and the mediating effect of visuospatial function on ToM performance. Fifty PD patients (31 male, 19 female; mean age = 66.34 years) and 49 healthy controls (16 male, 33 female; mean age = 67.29 years) completed a ToM task (reading the mind in the eyes) and visuospatial task (line orientation). The results revealed that current cognitive status was a significant predictor for performance on the ToM task, and that 54% of the total effect of cognitive status on ToM was mediated by visuospatial abilities. It was concluded that visuospatial functioning plays an important mediating role for the relationship between executive dysfunction and affective ToM deficits in PD patients, and that visuospatial deficits may directly contribute to the presence of affective ToM difficulties seen in individuals with PD.
Keywords: Parkinson's disease, theory of mind, visuospatial function, social cognition, executive function
This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.Download Article [PDF] View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]