Theory of Mind after Severe Acquired Brain Injury: Clues for Interpretation

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background. Recently, increased interest has been shown in Theory of Mind (ToM) abilities of individuals with severe acquired brain injury (sABI). ToM impairment following sABI can be associated with altered executive functioning and/or with difficulty in decoding and elaborating emotions. Two main theoretical models have been proposed to explain the mechanisms underlying ToM in the general population: Theory Theory and Simulation Theory. This review presents and discusses the literature on ToM abilities in individuals with sABI by examining whether they sustain the applicability of the Theory Theory and/or Simulation Theory to account for ToM deficits in this clinical population. We found 32 papers that are directly aimed at investigating ToM in sABI. Results did not show the univocal predominance of one model with respect to the other in explaining ToM deficits in sABI. We hypothesised that ToM processes could be explained by coinvolvement of the two models, i.e., according to personal experience, cognitive features, or the emotional resources of the persons with sABI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5205642
JournalBioMed Research International
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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