Social cognition in individuals with agenesis of the corpus callosum.

Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, Pasadena, CA, USA.
Social neuroscience (Impact Factor: 2.87). 02/2010; 5(3):296-308. DOI: 10.1080/17470910903462419
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Past research has revealed that individuals with agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC) have deficits in interhemispheric transfer, complex novel problem-solving, and the comprehension of paralinguistic aspects of language. Case studies and family reports also suggest problems in social cognition. The performance of 11 individuals with complete ACC and with normal intelligence was compared to that of 13 IQ- and age-matched controls on three measures of social cognition. Individuals with ACC were indistinguishable from controls on the Happe Theory of Mind Stories and the Adult Faux Pas Test, but performed significantly worse on various portions of the Thames Awareness of Social Inference Test (TASIT) involving interpretations of videotaped social vignettes. Further analysis of the TASIT indicated that individuals with ACC showed deficiency in the recognition of emotion, weakness in understanding paradoxical sarcasm, and particular difficulty interpreting textual versus visual social cues. These results suggest that the tendency for deficient social cognition in individuals with ACC stems from a combination of difficulty integrating information from multiple sources, using paralinguistic cues for emotion, and understanding nonliteral speech. Together, these deficits would contribute to a less robust theory of mind.

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    ABSTRACT: The role of interhemispheric interactions in the encoding, retention, and retrieval of verbal memory can be clarified by assessing individuals with complete or partial agenesis of the corpus callosum (AgCC), but who have normal intelligence. This study assessed verbal learning and memory in AgCC using the California Verbal Learning Test-Second Edition (CVLT-II). Twenty-six individuals with AgCC were compared to 24 matched controls on CVLT-II measures, as well as Donders' four CVLT-II factors (i.e., Attention Span, Learning Efficiency, Delayed Memory, and Inaccurate Memory). Individuals with AgCC performed significantly below healthy controls on the Delayed Memory factor, confirmed by significant deficits in short and long delayed free recall and cued recall. They also performed less well in original learning. Deficient performance by individuals with AgCC during learning trials, as well as deficits in all forms of delayed memory, suggest that the corpus callosum facilitates interhemispheric elaboration and encoding of verbal information.
    Neuropsychologia 06/2014; 60. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.06.003 · 3.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Impaired social functioning is a common symptom of individuals with developmental disruptions in callosal connectivity. Among these developmental conditions, agenesis of the corpus callosum provides the most extreme and clearly identifiable example of callosal disconnection. To date, deficits in nonliteral language comprehension, humor, theory of mind, and social reasoning have been documented in agenesis of the corpus callosum. Here, we examined a basic social ability as yet not investigated in this population: recognition of facial emotion and its association with social gaze. Methods: Nine individuals with callosal agenesis and nine matched controls completed four tasks involving emotional faces: emotion recognition from upright and inverted faces, gender recognition, and passive viewing. Eye-tracking data were collected concurrently on all four tasks and analyzed according to designated facial regions of interest. Results: Individuals with callosal agenesis exhibited impairments in recognizing emotions from upright faces, in particular lower accuracy for fear and anger, and these impairments were directly associated with diminished attention to the eye region. The callosal agenesis group exhibited greater consistency in emotion recognition across conditions (upright vs. inverted), with poorest performance for fear identification in both conditions. The callosal agenesis group also had atypical facial scanning (lower fractional dwell time in the eye region) during gender naming and passive viewing of faces, but they did not differ from controls on gender naming performance. The pattern of results did not differ when taking into account full-scale intelligence quotient or presence of autism spectrum symptoms. Conclusions: Agenesis of the corpus callosum results in a pattern of atypical facial scanning characterized by diminished attention to the eyes. This pattern suggests that reduced callosal connectivity may contribute to the development and maintenance of emotion processing deficits involving reduced attention to others' eyes.
    Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 01/2014; 6(32). DOI:10.1186/1866-1955-6-32 · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The corpus callosum is one of several structures thought to be abnormal in autism, in line with theories that autism arises from abnormal brain connectivity. Agenesis of the corpus callosum (AgCC) is a congenital condition in which the ~190 million fibers that normally connect the cerebral hemispheres fail to cross the midline. Primary AgCC is characterized by minimal additional neuropathology and intact general intelligence. However, individuals with Primary AgCC exhibit deficits in non-literal language comprehension, humor, theory of mind, and social reasoning (Paul et al., 2007), a profile strikingly similar to high-functioning autism, especially with regard to social interaction and communication (Badaruddin et al., 2007). Objectives: In autism research, psychosocial deficits have been related to atypical eyetracking to faces and impaired emotion recognition (Pelphrey et al., 2002). We examined these measures in Primary AgCC, to see if they would show similarity to what has been found in autism, specifically impaired emotion recognition and reduced visual attention to the eyes in faces. Methods: Nine adults with Primary AgCC and 9 neurotypical controls completed 4 tasks with the Ekman emotional faces: emotion recognition of upright faces and inverted faces, gender naming, and passive viewing. Participants were assessed for accuracy on the three recognition tasks. High-resolution eye-movement data collected throughout were analyzed according to examiner-designated facial regions of interest for absolute number of fixations and proportion of trial time fixating each ROI. Results: The AgCC group was less accurate than controls in naming all emotions except happiness in upright faces. Naming of fear and anger was significantly impaired relative to controls. For upright faces, the AgCC group had smaller fractional dwell times and fewer fixations in the eye regions, and larger fractional dwell times and more fixations in the nose and mouth regions, compared to controls. Distribution of fixations across trial time indicates that control subjects generally fixated the eyes earlier in the trial than did AgCC subjects. The AgCC group exhibited an inversion effect for emotion recognition, with a greater decline in performance than controls on happy, neutral and fearful inversions. Group difference was only significant for fearful faces. For inverted faces, fractional dwell times and number of fixations did not differ between groups. AgCC subjects did not differ from controls in accuracy of gender identification, nor did they have significant differences in eye-tracking patterns during gender judgment. On the passive viewing task, the AgCC group exhibited a non-significant tendency toward lower fractional dwell time and fewer fixations in the eye regions. Conclusions: Primary AgCC and autism share impairments in facial emotion recognition, which may be secondary to abnormal fixations to the features of faces. Specifically, participants with AgCC made fewer fixations to the eye region, with variable increases to mouth and nose regions of faces. These fixation abnormalities were relatively selective to emotion judgments of faces, and were associated with impaired recognition of emotion, especially fear and anger. These findings provide additional support for the connectivity hypothesis of social deficits in autism.
    International Meeting for Autism Research 2010; 05/2010


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Jun 5, 2014