Contextual social cognition and the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia

Neurology®, 05/11/2012

The assessment of context–dependent social cognition paradigms, the social context network model (SCNM), and their possible application to neuropsychiatric disorders may provide new insight into bvFTD and other related frontal disorders.

Author Commentary

• Why is this paper important to practicing neurologist or clinicians? From a clinician's perspective, using an abstract, universal and decontextualized approach to assess performance of bvFTD patients can be frustrating, as the history of executive and social cognition deficits reported by family members may go undetected. Thus, we highlight the need for a situated cognition approach to patient assessment. • Specific findings and methods. We propose that social cognition (from basic -e.g., facial recognition-, to high level social -e.g., decision making), engages the social context network model (SCNM), a fronto-insular-temporal network responsible for processing social contextual effects. • Broader implications of the paper. The difficulties in social cognition seen in bvFTD are best interpreted as deficits in incorporating contextual information, something that is ubiquitous in social behavior in everyday life but rarely quantified in experimental studies and classical neuropsychological evaluations.

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