Frontal lobe dysfunction and everyday problem-solving: social and non-social contributions

Acta Psychol (Amst). 2004 Feb-Mar;115(2-3):235-54. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2003.12.008.


Everyday problem-solving involves both non-social executive processes, social and emotional processes, and draws upon social and practical knowledge. A series of studies including both adult-acquired lesions and neurodevelopmental disorders is reviewed examining problem-solving on a real-life-type task that involves generating a range of solutions to brief problem scenarios and selecting preferred solutions to solve the problems. Impairments in problem-solving are described in groups of participants with left anterior frontal lobe lesions, Tourette's syndrome and Asperger's syndrome. By contrast, healthy older people did not show problem-solving deficits on the same task. The possible contributions of non-social executive skills, social and emotional skills, and knowledge acquired from experience are each considered in relation to everyday performance. Multiple cognitive/emotional routes to the development of everyday life difficulties pose a complex challenge both in understanding the nature of the relevant processes and in developing adequate methods for management and rehabilitation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Asperger Syndrome / psychology*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Problem Solving*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Tourette Syndrome / psychology*