Normal mind-reading capacity but higher response confidence in borderline personality disorder patients.
ABSTRACT Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by a pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships. Therefore, the investigation of social cognition is of compelling interest for the understanding of BPD. One important aspect of social cognition is theory of mind (ToM), which describes the ability to understand others' mental states, such as beliefs, desires and intentions. The aim of the present study was to further investigate ToM in BPD patients.
The Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test was assessed in 31 BPD patients and 27 healthy controls. In addition, the test was complemented by a response confidence rating.
BPD patients and healthy controls did not differ in their mind-reading ability with respect to accuracy, but patients were significantly more often highly confident in their decisions than controls.
Overconfidence might contribute to the severe difficulties in interpersonal relationships often observed in BPD patients.
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ABSTRACT: One of the core symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is the instability in interpersonal relationships. This might be related to existent differences in mindreading between BPD patients and healthy individuals. We examined the behavioural and neurophysiological (fMRI) responses of BPD patients and healthy controls (HC) during performance of the 'Reading the Mind in the Eyes' test (RMET). Mental state discrimination was significantly better and faster for affective eye gazes in BPD patients than in HC. At the neurophysiological level, this was manifested in a stronger activation of the amygdala and greater activity of the medial frontal gyrus, the left temporal pole and the middle temporal gyrus during affective eye gazes. In contrast, HC subjects showed a greater activation in the insula and the superior temporal gyri. These findings indicate that BPD patients are highly vigilant to social stimuli, maybe because they resonate intuitively with mental states of others.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(8):e41650. · 4.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Many typical symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) occur within interpersonal contexts, suggesting that BPD is characterized by aberrant social cognition. While research consistently shows that BPD patients have biases in mental state attribution (e.g., evaluate others as malevolent), the research focusing on accuracy in inferring mental states (i.e., cognitive empathy) is less consistent. For complex and ecologically valid tasks in particular, emerging evidence suggests that individuals with BPD have impairments in the attribution of emotions, thoughts, and intentions of others (e.g., Preißler et al., 2010). A history of childhood trauma and co-morbid PTSD seem to be strong additional predictors for cognitive empathy deficits. Together with reduced emotional empathy and aberrant sending of social signals (e.g., expression of mixed and hard-to-read emotions), the deficits in mental state attribution might contribute to behavioral problems in BPD. Given the importance of social cognition on the part of both the sender and the recipient in maintaining interpersonal relationships and therapeutic alliance, these impairments deserve more attention.Frontiers in Neuroscience 01/2012; 6:195.