Social cognition dysfunctions in patients with epilepsy: Evidence from patients with temporal lobe and idiopathic generalized epilepsies

Sabrina Realmuto, Leila Zummo, Chiara Cerami, Luigi Agrò, Alessandra Dodich, Nicola Canessa, Andrea Zizzo, Brigida Fierro, Ornella Daniele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and aim: Despite an extensive literature on cognitive impairments in focal and generalized epilepsy, only a few number of studies specifically explored social cognition disorders in epilepsy syndromes. The aim of our study was to investigate social cognition abilities in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and in patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE). Materials and methods: Thirty-nine patients (21 patients with TLE and 18 patients with IGE) and 21 matched healthy controls (HCs) were recruited. All subjects underwent a basic neuropsychological battery plus two experimental tasks evaluating emotion recognition from facial expression (Ekman-60-Faces test, Ek-60F) and mental state attribution (Story-based Empathy Task, SET). In particular, the latter is a newly developed task that assesses the ability to infer others' intentions (i.e., intention attribution - IA) and emotions (i.e., emotion attribution - EA) compared with a control condition of physical causality (i.e., causal inferences - CI). Results: Compared with HCs, patients with TLE showed significantly lower performances on both social cognition tasks. In particular, all SET subconditions as well as the recognition of negative emotions were significantly impaired in patients with TLE vs. HCs. On the contrary, patients with IGE showed impairments on anger recognition only without any deficit at the SET task. Discussion: Emotion recognition deficits occur in patients with epilepsy, possibly because of a global disruption of a pathway involving frontal, temporal, and limbic regions. Impairments of mental state attribution specifically characterize the neuropsychological profile of patients with TLE in the context of the in-depth temporal dysfunction typical of such patients. Conclusion: Impairments of socioemotional processing have to be considered as part of the neuropsychological assessment in both TLE and IGE in view of a correct management and for future therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-103
Number of pages6
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Volume47
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Empathy
  • Idiopathic generalized epilepsy
  • Neurobehavioral impairment
  • Social cognition
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Medicine(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Social cognition dysfunctions in patients with epilepsy: Evidence from patients with temporal lobe and idiopathic generalized epilepsies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this