Theory of Mind and Its Brain Distribution in Patients with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
Theory of Mind (ToM) refers to the ability to infer
another’s mental state. With appropriate ToM, one can behave well in
social interactions. A growing body of evidence has demonstrated that
patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) may damage ToM by
affecting on regions of the underlying neural network of ToM.
However, the question of whether there is cerebral laterality for ToM
functions remains open. This study aimed to examine whether there is
cerebral lateralization for ToM abilities in TLE patients. Sixty-seven
adult TLE patients and 30 matched healthy controls (HC) were
recruited. Patients were classified into right (RTLE), left (LTLE), and
bilateral (BTLE) TLE groups on the basis of a consensus panel review
of their seizure semiology, EEG findings, and brain imaging results.
All participants completed an intellectual test and four tasks measuring
basic and advanced ToM. The results showed that, on all ToM tasks,
(1) each patient group performed worse than HC; (2) there were no
significant differences between LTLE and RTLE groups; and (3) the
BTLE group performed the worst. It appears that the neural network
responsible for ToM is distributed evenly between the cerebral
Cerebral lateralization, social cognition, temporal
lobe epilepsy, theory of mind.