A novel task assessing intention and emotion attribution: Italian standardization and normative data of the Story-based Empathy Task

Alessandra Dodich, Chiara Cerami, Nicola Canessa, Chiara Crespi, Sandro Iannaccone, Alessandra Marcone, Sabrina Realmuto, Giada Lettieri, Daniela Perani, Stefano F. Cappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Theory of Mind (ToM), the process by which an individual imputes mental states to himself and others, is presently considered as a multidimensional cognitive domain, with two main facets (i.e., cognitive and affective ToM) accounting, respectively, for the ability to understand others’ intention (intention attribution-IA) and emotions (emotion attribution-EA). Despite the large amount of literature investigating the behavioural and neural bases of mentalizing abilities in neurological conditions, there is still a lack of validated neuropsychological tools specifically designed to assess such skills. Here, we report the normative data of the Story-Based Empathy Task (SET), a non-verbal test developed for the assessment of intention and emotion attribution in the neurodegenerative conditions characterized by the impairment of social–emotional abilities. It is an easy-to-administer task including 18 stimuli, sub-grouped into two experimental conditions assessing, respectively, the ability to infer others’ intentions (SET-IA) and emotions (SET-EA), compared to a control condition of causal inference (SET-CI). Normative data were collected in 136 Italian subjects pooled across subgroups homogenous for age (range 20–79 years), sex, and education (at least 5 years). The results show a detrimental effect of age and a beneficial effect of education on both the global score and each subscale, for which we provide correction grids. This new task could be a useful tool to investigate both affective and cognitive aspects of ToM in the course of disorders of socio-emotional behaviour, such as the fronto-temporal dementia spectrum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1907-1912
Number of pages6
JournalNeurological Sciences
Volume36
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 14 2015

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Theory of Mind
Aptitude
Emotions
Sex Education
Dementia
Education

Keywords

  • Affective ToM
  • Cognitive ToM
  • Empathy
  • Italian standardization
  • Mentalizing
  • Social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Dermatology

Cite this

A novel task assessing intention and emotion attribution : Italian standardization and normative data of the Story-based Empathy Task. / Dodich, Alessandra; Cerami, Chiara; Canessa, Nicola; Crespi, Chiara; Iannaccone, Sandro; Marcone, Alessandra; Realmuto, Sabrina; Lettieri, Giada; Perani, Daniela; Cappa, Stefano F.

In: Neurological Sciences, Vol. 36, No. 10, 14.06.2015, p. 1907-1912.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dodich, Alessandra ; Cerami, Chiara ; Canessa, Nicola ; Crespi, Chiara ; Iannaccone, Sandro ; Marcone, Alessandra ; Realmuto, Sabrina ; Lettieri, Giada ; Perani, Daniela ; Cappa, Stefano F. / A novel task assessing intention and emotion attribution : Italian standardization and normative data of the Story-based Empathy Task. In: Neurological Sciences. 2015 ; Vol. 36, No. 10. pp. 1907-1912.
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