3 years ago

Neural correlates of “Theory of Mind” in very preterm born children

Mary Lou Smith, Elizabeth W. Pang, Margot J. Taylor, Sarah I. Mossad
Very preterm (VPT) birth (<32 weeks' gestational age) has been implicated in social-cognitive deficits including Theory of Mind (ToM); the ability to attribute mental states to others and understand that those beliefs can differ from one's own or reality. The neural bases for ToM deficits in VPT born children have not been examined. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) for its excellent spatial and temporal resolution to determine the neural underpinnings of ToM in 24 VPT and 24 full-term born (FT) children (7–13 years). VPT children performed more poorly on neuropsychological measures of ToM but not inhibition. In the MEG task, both FT children and VPT children recruited regions involved in false belief processing such as the rIFG (VPT: 275–350 ms, FT: 250–375 ms) and left inferior temporal gyrus (VPT: 375–450 ms, FT: 325–375 ms) and right fusiform gyrus (VPT: 150–200 ms, FT: 175–250 ms). The rIPL (included in the temporal-parietal junction) was recruited in FT children (475–575 ms) and the lTPJ in VPT children (500–575 ms). However, activations in all regions were reduced in the VPT compared to the FT group. We suggest that with increasing social-cognitive demands such as varying the type of scenarios in the standardized measure of ToM, reduced activations in the rIFG and TPJ in the VPT group may reflect the decreased performance. With access to both spatial and temporal information, we discuss the role of domain general and specific regions of the ToM network in both groups. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/hbm.23750

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