Type of Document Dissertation Author Youmans, Gina Louise Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-07102004-084317 Title Theory of Mind in Individuals with Alzheimer-Type Dementia Profiles Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Communication Disorders, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Michelle Bourgeois Committee Chair Howard Goldstein Committee Member Leonord L. LaPointe Committee Member Michael E. Rashotte Committee Member Keywords
- Mental Inferencing
- Alzheimerís Disease
- Perspective Taking
- Theory of Mind
Date of Defense 2004-06-15 Availability unrestricted AbstractTheory of Mind (ToM) involves a personís ability to infer what another person knows, thus taking his or her perspective. Initial evidence has been presented for a ToM impairment in individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimerís disease (AD), however preliminary investigations have failed to dissociate theory of mind difficulty from impairments in general inferencing, executive functions, and working memory. Deficits in any of these areas could be sufficient to explain the apparent ToM impairment in the AD population.
Ten participants with mild to moderate AD profiles completed first order and second order false belief tasks with and without memory support, and their performances on ToM testing were compared to the performances of elderly controls. All theory of mind testing was controlled with memory, comprehension, and general inferencing questions, and AD participants completed neuropsychological testing to concurrently assess general cognitive functioning, memory, and executive functioning.
Independent and paired t-tests compared experimental and control group ToM performances. Correlations assessed relations between ToM and neurocognitve test performances. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and individual case analyses for performances of AD participants were presented.
Results indicated that AD participants did not exhibit a specific ToM difficulty as compared to control participants when support for memory was not provided. However, significant group differences for specific ToM impairment that appeared to be separable from comprehension, memory and general inferencing difficulties emerged during ToM testing when support for memory was provided. On individual case analysis, eight of the ten AD participants exhibited a mild, specific ToM difficulty. Correlations between ToM performance and neurocognitive test performances were not significant; however four of the eight AD participants who exhibited specific, ToM difficulty also had difficulty with executive function testing. The results of the current study indicate that individuals with mild to moderate AD may possess an underlying, mild, specific ToM impairment which becomes apparent during supported memory testing. Such mild ToM impairment in high to moderate AD individuals must be further investigated, and possible contributions of executive function impairments to apparent ToM difficulty further explored before the current results can be confidently generalized to a larger AD population.
Filename Size Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds)
28.8 Modem 56K Modem ISDN (64 Kb) ISDN (128 Kb) Higher-speed Access 01-gly-prelims.pdf 120.35 Kb 00:00:33 00:00:17 00:00:15 00:00:07 < 00:00:01 02-gly-text.pdf 1.48 Mb 00:06:50 00:03:31 00:03:04 00:01:32 00:00:07