We investigated in a sample of non-clinical adults the association between Theory of Mind (ToM) and Executive Functions (EFs), that is the set of skills that allow people to control and modulate lower-level cognitive processes in order to produce appropriate behaviour. To this aim, we assessed both affective (i.e., understanding other people’s emotions and feelings) and cognitive (i.e., understanding others’ beliefs and intentions) ToM, as well four subcomponents of EFs, that is Updating, Shifting, Inhibition, and Access. The association between ToM and non-verbal fluid intelligence, verbal reasoning, and cognitive estimation abilities was also investigated. Eighty-one healthy participants were recruited, and a set of psychometrically validated tests was administered. Multiple regression analyses were run to assess significant predictors of ToM performance when potentially confounding predictors (sociodemographic variables) were controlled for. Results showed a lack of association between affective/cognitive ToM and EFs, whereas non-verbal fluid intelligence for cognitive ToM and verbal reasoning for affective ToM were found to be significant predictors of ToM performance. These results represent a contribution toward a deeper understanding of the ToM-EFs relationships and highlight the importance of broadening the analysis of these relationships to the role played by other domain-general functions in both affective and cognitive ToM.

On the (lack of) association between theory of mind and executive functions: a study in a non-clinical adult sample

Di Tella M.;Ardito R. B.
;
Adenzato M.
2020

Abstract

We investigated in a sample of non-clinical adults the association between Theory of Mind (ToM) and Executive Functions (EFs), that is the set of skills that allow people to control and modulate lower-level cognitive processes in order to produce appropriate behaviour. To this aim, we assessed both affective (i.e., understanding other people’s emotions and feelings) and cognitive (i.e., understanding others’ beliefs and intentions) ToM, as well four subcomponents of EFs, that is Updating, Shifting, Inhibition, and Access. The association between ToM and non-verbal fluid intelligence, verbal reasoning, and cognitive estimation abilities was also investigated. Eighty-one healthy participants were recruited, and a set of psychometrically validated tests was administered. Multiple regression analyses were run to assess significant predictors of ToM performance when potentially confounding predictors (sociodemographic variables) were controlled for. Results showed a lack of association between affective/cognitive ToM and EFs, whereas non-verbal fluid intelligence for cognitive ToM and verbal reasoning for affective ToM were found to be significant predictors of ToM performance. These results represent a contribution toward a deeper understanding of the ToM-EFs relationships and highlight the importance of broadening the analysis of these relationships to the role played by other domain-general functions in both affective and cognitive ToM.
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www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-74476-0
executive functions; non-clinical population; non-verbal fluid intelligence; verbal reasoning; Theory of Mind.
Di Tella M.; Ardito R.B.; Dutto F.; Adenzato M.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1768414
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