Theory of mind and the whole brain functional connectivity: Behavioral and neural evidences with the Amsterdam Resting State Questionnaire

Antonella Marchetti, Francesca Baglio, Isa Costantini, Ottavia Dipasquale, Federica Savazzi, Raffaello Nemni, Francesca Sangiuliano Intra, Semira Tagliabue, Annalisa Valle, Davide Massaro, Ilaria Castelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A topic of common interest to psychologists and philosophers is the spontaneous flow of thoughts when the individual is awake but not involved in cognitive demands. This argument, classically referred to as the "stream of consciousness" of James, is now known in the psychological literature as "Mind-Wandering." Although of great interest, this construct has been scarcely investigated so far. Diaz et al. (2013) created the Amsterdam Resting State Questionnaire (ARSQ), composed of 27 items, distributed in seven factors: discontinuity of mind, theory of mind (ToM), self, planning, sleepiness, comfort, and somatic awareness. The present study aims at: testing psychometric properties of the ARSQ in a sample of 670 Italian subjects; exploring the neural correlates of a subsample of participants (N = 28) divided into two groups on the basis of the scores obtained in the ToM factor. Results show a satisfactory reliability of the original factional structure in the Italian sample. In the subjects with a high mean in the ToM factor compared to low mean subjects, functional MRI revealed: a network (48 nodes) with higher functional connectivity (FC) with a dominance of the left hemisphere; an increased within-lobe FC in frontal and insular lobes. In both neural and behavioral terms, our results support the idea that the mind, which does not rest even when explicitly asked to do so, has various and interesting mentalistic-like contents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number01855
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume6
Issue numberDEC
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Functional connectivity (FC)
  • Graph analysis
  • Resting state components
  • Resting state fMRI (rfMRI)
  • Theory of mind (ToM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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