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Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2007 Feb;257(1):12-22.

Deficit of social cognition in subjects with surgically treated frontal lobe lesions and in subjects affected by schizophrenia.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of L'Aquila, S. Salvatore Hospital, L'Aquila, Italy.


The ability of humans to predict and explain other people's behaviour by attributing independent mental states such as desires and beliefs to them, is considered to be due to our ability to construct a "Theory of Mind". Recently, several neuroimaging studies have implicated the medial frontal lobes as playing a critical role in a dedicated "mentalizing" or "Theory of Mind" network in the human brain. In this study we compare the performance of patients with right and left medial prefrontal lobe lesions in theory of mind and in social cognition tasks, with the performance of people with schizophrenia. We report a similar social cognitive profile between patients with prefrontal lobe lesions and schizophrenic subjects in terms of understanding of false beliefs, in understanding social situations and in using tactical strategies. These findings are relevant for the functional anatomy of "Theory of Mind".

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