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Neuropsychologia. 2000;38(7):1006-17.

The effects of anterior lesions on performance on a story comprehension test: left anterior impairment on a theory of mind-type task.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University College London, UK.


Participants with unilateral anterior or posterior lesions were compared to a healthy group on a theory of mind-type task that involved explaining the words or actions of story characters in a series of brief vignettes. Participants also carried out a set of non-social neuropsychological tests. Those with left anterior brain lesions (n=6) showed impairment relative to those with right anterior (n=13), left (n=4) and right (n=8) posterior lesions and healthy participants (n=60) in story comprehension, and their errors commonly involved failure to make non-literal interpretations. The left anterior lesion participants also showed impairment on some measures of executive function. The implications of the findings for our understanding of impairments in story comprehension after brain injury are discussed in terms of models of executive function and theory of mind.

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