Mind-reading ability and structural connectivity changes in aging

Monia Cabinio, Federica Rossetto, Valeria Blasi, Federica Savazzi, Ilaria Castelli, Davide Massaro, Annalisa Valle, Raffaello Nemni, Mario Clerici, Antonella Marchetti, Francesca Baglio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Mind-Reading ability through the eyes is an important component of the affective Theory of Mind (ToM), which allows people to infer the other's mental state from the eye gaze. The aim of the present study was to investigate to which extent age-associated structural brain changes impact this ability and to determine if this association is related to executive functions in elderly subjects. For this purpose, Magnetic Resonance Imaging was used to determine both gray matter and white matter (WM) areas associated with aging. The resulting areas have been included in a subsequent correlation analysis to detect the brain regions whose structure was associated with the Mind-Reading ability through the eyes, assessed with the Italian version of the "Reading the Mind in the Eyes" (RME) test, in a sample of 36 healthy subjects ranging from 24 to 79 years of age. The analysis resulted in three important findings: (1) the performance to the RME test is relatively stable across the decades 20-70 (despite a slight decrease of this ability with aging) and independent from executive functions; (2) structural brain imaging demonstrated the involvement of a great number of cortical ToM areas for the execution of the RME test: the bilateral precentral gyrus, the bilateral posterior insula, the left superior temporal gyrus and the left inferior frontal gyrus, which also showed a significant volume decrease with age; (3) an age and task-related decline in WM connectivity on left fronto-temporal portion of the brain. Our results confirm the age-related structural modifications of the brain and show that these changes have an influence on the Mind-Reading ability through the eyes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1808
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume6
Issue numberNOV
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint

Aptitude
Reading
Theory of Mind
Executive Function
Brain
Frontal Lobe
Prefrontal Cortex
Neuroimaging
Healthy Volunteers
Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Keywords

  • Aging neuroscience
  • Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging
  • Growth and development
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Mind-reading
  • Theory of mind (ToM)
  • Tract-based spatial statistics
  • Voxel-based morphometry (VBM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Mind-reading ability and structural connectivity changes in aging. / Cabinio, Monia; Rossetto, Federica; Blasi, Valeria; Savazzi, Federica; Castelli, Ilaria; Massaro, Davide; Valle, Annalisa; Nemni, Raffaello; Clerici, Mario; Marchetti, Antonella; Baglio, Francesca.

In: Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 6, No. NOV, 1808, 2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cabinio, M, Rossetto, F, Blasi, V, Savazzi, F, Castelli, I, Massaro, D, Valle, A, Nemni, R, Clerici, M, Marchetti, A & Baglio, F 2015, 'Mind-reading ability and structural connectivity changes in aging', Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 6, no. NOV, 1808. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01808
Cabinio, Monia ; Rossetto, Federica ; Blasi, Valeria ; Savazzi, Federica ; Castelli, Ilaria ; Massaro, Davide ; Valle, Annalisa ; Nemni, Raffaello ; Clerici, Mario ; Marchetti, Antonella ; Baglio, Francesca. / Mind-reading ability and structural connectivity changes in aging. In: Frontiers in Psychology. 2015 ; Vol. 6, No. NOV.
@article{d3b09666440f4592941690743b7f3c98,
title = "Mind-reading ability and structural connectivity changes in aging",
abstract = "The Mind-Reading ability through the eyes is an important component of the affective Theory of Mind (ToM), which allows people to infer the other's mental state from the eye gaze. The aim of the present study was to investigate to which extent age-associated structural brain changes impact this ability and to determine if this association is related to executive functions in elderly subjects. For this purpose, Magnetic Resonance Imaging was used to determine both gray matter and white matter (WM) areas associated with aging. The resulting areas have been included in a subsequent correlation analysis to detect the brain regions whose structure was associated with the Mind-Reading ability through the eyes, assessed with the Italian version of the {"}Reading the Mind in the Eyes{"} (RME) test, in a sample of 36 healthy subjects ranging from 24 to 79 years of age. The analysis resulted in three important findings: (1) the performance to the RME test is relatively stable across the decades 20-70 (despite a slight decrease of this ability with aging) and independent from executive functions; (2) structural brain imaging demonstrated the involvement of a great number of cortical ToM areas for the execution of the RME test: the bilateral precentral gyrus, the bilateral posterior insula, the left superior temporal gyrus and the left inferior frontal gyrus, which also showed a significant volume decrease with age; (3) an age and task-related decline in WM connectivity on left fronto-temporal portion of the brain. Our results confirm the age-related structural modifications of the brain and show that these changes have an influence on the Mind-Reading ability through the eyes.",
keywords = "Aging neuroscience, Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging, Growth and development, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Mind-reading, Theory of mind (ToM), Tract-based spatial statistics, Voxel-based morphometry (VBM)",
author = "Monia Cabinio and Federica Rossetto and Valeria Blasi and Federica Savazzi and Ilaria Castelli and Davide Massaro and Annalisa Valle and Raffaello Nemni and Mario Clerici and Antonella Marchetti and Francesca Baglio",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01808",
language = "English",
volume = "6",
journal = "Frontiers in Psychology",
issn = "1664-1078",
publisher = "Frontiers Media S.A.",
number = "NOV",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Mind-reading ability and structural connectivity changes in aging

AU - Cabinio, Monia

AU - Rossetto, Federica

AU - Blasi, Valeria

AU - Savazzi, Federica

AU - Castelli, Ilaria

AU - Massaro, Davide

AU - Valle, Annalisa

AU - Nemni, Raffaello

AU - Clerici, Mario

AU - Marchetti, Antonella

AU - Baglio, Francesca

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - The Mind-Reading ability through the eyes is an important component of the affective Theory of Mind (ToM), which allows people to infer the other's mental state from the eye gaze. The aim of the present study was to investigate to which extent age-associated structural brain changes impact this ability and to determine if this association is related to executive functions in elderly subjects. For this purpose, Magnetic Resonance Imaging was used to determine both gray matter and white matter (WM) areas associated with aging. The resulting areas have been included in a subsequent correlation analysis to detect the brain regions whose structure was associated with the Mind-Reading ability through the eyes, assessed with the Italian version of the "Reading the Mind in the Eyes" (RME) test, in a sample of 36 healthy subjects ranging from 24 to 79 years of age. The analysis resulted in three important findings: (1) the performance to the RME test is relatively stable across the decades 20-70 (despite a slight decrease of this ability with aging) and independent from executive functions; (2) structural brain imaging demonstrated the involvement of a great number of cortical ToM areas for the execution of the RME test: the bilateral precentral gyrus, the bilateral posterior insula, the left superior temporal gyrus and the left inferior frontal gyrus, which also showed a significant volume decrease with age; (3) an age and task-related decline in WM connectivity on left fronto-temporal portion of the brain. Our results confirm the age-related structural modifications of the brain and show that these changes have an influence on the Mind-Reading ability through the eyes.

AB - The Mind-Reading ability through the eyes is an important component of the affective Theory of Mind (ToM), which allows people to infer the other's mental state from the eye gaze. The aim of the present study was to investigate to which extent age-associated structural brain changes impact this ability and to determine if this association is related to executive functions in elderly subjects. For this purpose, Magnetic Resonance Imaging was used to determine both gray matter and white matter (WM) areas associated with aging. The resulting areas have been included in a subsequent correlation analysis to detect the brain regions whose structure was associated with the Mind-Reading ability through the eyes, assessed with the Italian version of the "Reading the Mind in the Eyes" (RME) test, in a sample of 36 healthy subjects ranging from 24 to 79 years of age. The analysis resulted in three important findings: (1) the performance to the RME test is relatively stable across the decades 20-70 (despite a slight decrease of this ability with aging) and independent from executive functions; (2) structural brain imaging demonstrated the involvement of a great number of cortical ToM areas for the execution of the RME test: the bilateral precentral gyrus, the bilateral posterior insula, the left superior temporal gyrus and the left inferior frontal gyrus, which also showed a significant volume decrease with age; (3) an age and task-related decline in WM connectivity on left fronto-temporal portion of the brain. Our results confirm the age-related structural modifications of the brain and show that these changes have an influence on the Mind-Reading ability through the eyes.

KW - Aging neuroscience

KW - Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging

KW - Growth and development

KW - Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

KW - Mind-reading

KW - Theory of mind (ToM)

KW - Tract-based spatial statistics

KW - Voxel-based morphometry (VBM)

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84949644329&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84949644329&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01808

DO - 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01808

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84949644329

VL - 6

JO - Frontiers in Psychology

JF - Frontiers in Psychology

SN - 1664-1078

IS - NOV

M1 - 1808

ER -