For a long time, cervical dystonia (CD) has been characterised only by disturbances in motor functioning. Despite accumulating evidence for symptomatology in various non-motor domains, to date no study has investigated social cognition in CD. The aim of this study was to compare performance of CD patients and healthy controls in neurocognitive and socio-cognitive domain. Twenty-five non-depressed patients with CD and 26 healthy controls underwent neuropsychological testing. This involved assessment of cognitive status (general intellect, verbal memory, and executive function), and socio-cognitive functions using a Theory of mind task and self-report on empathy and emotion regulation. In comparison to controls, CD patients displayed significantly decreased cognitive abilities, particularly in executive function and verbal memory tasks. Difficulties in inferring mental states on both cognitive and affective levels were also observed. The largest discrepancies were detected in understanding intentionality in others. Poorer performance in cognitive and socio-cognitive tasks was unrelated to severity of the disease. This is the first evidence of compromised socio-cognitive functions in CD patients, highlighting this domain as another facet of non-motor symptoms of this disease. Future studies should advance our understanding of the extent, nature, and time course of these deficits in other aspects of social cognition in this patient population.
Bibliographical noteThe final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00702-017-1725-8
- cervical dystonia
- social cognition
- theory of mind