Social cognition and executive functions in children and adolescents with focal epilepsy

Michele Roccella, Sara Matricardi, Roberta Mazza, Grazia Maria Giovanna Pastorino, Nazareno Pastorino, Francesca Felicia Operto, Carlo Di Bonaventura, Marco Carotenuto, Alberto Verrotti, Rosa Marotta

Risultato della ricerca: Articlepeer review

3 Citazioni (Scopus)


Objectives: Deficits in facial emotion recognition and Theory of Mind are frequent in patients with epilepsy. Although this evidence, studies on pediatric age are few and the relation between these abilities and other cognitive domain remains to be better elucidated. The purpose of our study is to evaluate facial emotion recognition and Theory of Mind in children and adolescents with focal epilepsy, and correlate them with intelligence and executive functions. Materials and methods: Our work is a cross-sectional observational study. Sixty-two children and adolescents aged between 7-16 years diagnosed by focal epilepsy and 32 sex/age-matched controls were recruited. All participants were administered a standardized battery tests to assess social cognition (NEPSY-II), executive functions (EpiTrack Junior) and cognitive non-verbal level (Raven Progressive Matrices). Results: Emotion recognition mean score was significantly lower in the epilepsy group than in the controls to Student's t-test (p<0.05). Epilepsy group showed an impairment in happiness, sadness, anger and fear recognition, compared to controls (p<0.05). Theory of Mind mean score was also significantly lower in epilepsy group than controls (p<0.05). Deficits in emotion recognition seemed to be related to low age at onset of epilepsy, long duration of disease, low executive functions and low non-verbal intelligence. Deficits in Theory of Mind seemed to be related to a high seizure frequency. Conclusions: Our results suggest that children and adolescents with focal epilepsy had deficit in facial emotion recognition and Theory of Mind, compared to their peer. Both these difficulties seem to be related to some features of epilepsy itself. Our results also suggest that deficits in facial emotion recognition are potentially related to difficulties in executive functions and non-verbal intelligence. More studies are needed to confirm these hypotheses.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)167-175
Numero di pagine9
RivistaEuropean Journal of Paediatric Neurology
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology

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