Growing evidence indicates that Theory of Mind (ToM) declines in normal aging. However, the majority of this research has used classic and static verbal tasks that present scenarios, which are very different from real life. The present study was designed to fill this gap by administering the Movie for the Assessment of Social Cognition (MASC) to young and older participants. It allows one to analyze not only the accuracy, but also the typology of error in mental states attribution distinguishing between iper-ToM (over-mentalization), ipo-ToM (insufficient mentalization), and no-ToM (lack of mentalization). We recruited 30 young (20–29 years), 39 young-old (65–74 years), and 31 old-old (75–86 years) participants. Along with the MASC, we administered a classic ToM task, the Strange Stories, and several measures of cognitive functioning. Results showed that older adults were less accurate in mental state attribution than young adults in the MASC, but not in the Strange Stories. In addition, compared to young adults, older adults committed more errors of both ipo- and no-ToM, while young adults committed more often iper-ToM errors. Additionally, older adults, but not young adults, did not show a difference between iper-ToM and ipo-ToM errors, which were equally frequent in this age group. Globally, results indicated that older adults’ failure in classic ToM tasks may be due to both ipo- and iper-ToM and provide needed evidence for the MASC as a suitable measure of ToM in aging.

Investigating ToM in aging with the MASC: from accuracy to error type

Ceccato I.
Secondo
;
2019

Abstract

Growing evidence indicates that Theory of Mind (ToM) declines in normal aging. However, the majority of this research has used classic and static verbal tasks that present scenarios, which are very different from real life. The present study was designed to fill this gap by administering the Movie for the Assessment of Social Cognition (MASC) to young and older participants. It allows one to analyze not only the accuracy, but also the typology of error in mental states attribution distinguishing between iper-ToM (over-mentalization), ipo-ToM (insufficient mentalization), and no-ToM (lack of mentalization). We recruited 30 young (20–29 years), 39 young-old (65–74 years), and 31 old-old (75–86 years) participants. Along with the MASC, we administered a classic ToM task, the Strange Stories, and several measures of cognitive functioning. Results showed that older adults were less accurate in mental state attribution than young adults in the MASC, but not in the Strange Stories. In addition, compared to young adults, older adults committed more errors of both ipo- and no-ToM, while young adults committed more often iper-ToM errors. Additionally, older adults, but not young adults, did not show a difference between iper-ToM and ipo-ToM errors, which were equally frequent in this age group. Globally, results indicated that older adults’ failure in classic ToM tasks may be due to both ipo- and iper-ToM and provide needed evidence for the MASC as a suitable measure of ToM in aging.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/723110
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