Social cognition, executive functioning, and neuroimaging correlates of empathic deficits in frontotemporal dementia

Paul J. Eslinger, Peachie Moore, Chivon Anderson, Murray Grossman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

95 Scopus citations

Abstract

The authors investigated aspects of interpersonal sensitivity and perspective-taking in relation to empathy, social cognitions, and executive functioning in 26 frontotemporal dementia (FTD) patients. Behavioral-variant FTD (bvFTD) patients were significantly impaired on caregiver assessments of empathy, although self-ratings were normal. Progressive nonfluent aphasia and semantic-dementia samples were rarely abnormal. In bvFTD, empathy ratings were found to be correlated with social cognition and executive functioning measures, but not depression. Voxelbased morphometry revealed that reduced empathic perspective-taking was related to bifrontal and left anterior temporal atrophy, whereas empathic emotions were related to right medial frontal atrophy. Findings suggest that bvFTD causes multiple types of breakdown in empathy, social cognition, and executive resources, mediated by frontal and temporal disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-82
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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