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Deficits in metacognition of emotion recognition in dementia

Indira Ruth Garcia Cordero

  • 284,
  • Argentina
  • Indira Garcia Cordero ¹
  • , Joaquin Migeot ²
  • , Alexia Aquino ¹
  • , Sol Fittipaldi ¹
  • , Mariano Díaz Rivera ¹
  • , Adolfo Garcia ¹
  • , Agustín Ibañez ¹
  • 1 Universidad de San Andrés, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 2 Center for Social and Cognitive Neuroscience, School of Psychology, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Santiago de Chile, Chile

Metacognition (monitoring) of emotion recognition is fundamental for social interactions. Although dementia patients present deficits in emotion recognition and self-awareness, their metacognition of affective processes remains poorly understood. We recruited 18 patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), 27 with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and 38 demographically-matched controls. Participants performed the Ekman’s facial emotion recognition test and, after each trial, provided a confidence judgment about their performance. A metacognitive index was calculated weighing performance against associated confidence ratings. Whole-brain grey matter (GM) volume was associated with the index via voxel-based morphometry multiple regression analyses. Both patient groups presented impairments in metacognition of negative emotions: disgust was specifically impaired in bvFTD, and sadness in AD. In bvFTD patients, reduced GM volume of limbic and subcortical regions was associated with emotion recognition deficits; while the frontal, insular, and cingulate cortices were linked to metacognitive impairments. In AD, temporal and parietal areas were associated with emotion recognition; whereas parietal and frontal regions were linked to metacognition. Recognition and metacognition of emotions shared several structural substrates. Further research in this direction can illuminate the bases of daily socio-behavioral alterations in these disorders.