Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Theory of mind and cognitive processes in aging and Alzheimer type dementia: a systematic review

Démonet, Jean-François ; Fossard, Marion ; Sandoz, Mélanie

In: Aging & Mental Health, 2014, vol. 18, no. 7, p. 815-827

Objectives: Theory of mind (ToM) performance in aging and dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) has been a growing interest of researchers and recently, theoretical trends in ToM development have led to a focus on determining the cognitive skills involved in ToM performance. The aim of the present review is to answer three main questions: How is ToM assessed in aging and DAT? How does ToM... Plus

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    Summary
    Objectives: Theory of mind (ToM) performance in aging and dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) has been a growing interest of researchers and recently, theoretical trends in ToM development have led to a focus on determining the cognitive skills involved in ToM performance. The aim of the present review is to answer three main questions: How is ToM assessed in aging and DAT? How does ToM performance evolve in aging and DAT? Do cognitive processes influence ToM performance in aging and DAT?
    Method: A systematic review was conducted to provide a targeted overview of recent studies relating ToM performance with cognitive processes in aging and DAT.
    Results: Results suggest a decrease in ToM performance, more pronounced in complex ToM tasks. Moreover, the review points up the strong involvement of executive functions, especially inhibition, and reasoning skills in ToM task achievement.
    Conclusion: Current data suggest that the structure of ToM tasks itself could lead to poor performance, especially in populations with reduced cognitive abilities.