Theory of mind in spina bifida: Relationship with intellectual and executive functioning

Scand J Psychol. 2017 Oct;58(5):379-388. doi: 10.1111/sjop.12390.


This article investigates emotion recognition ability, a central aspect of Theory of Mind (ToM), in a group of individuals with spina bifida myelomeningocele (SBM) experiencing executive function deficits, and examine associations between emotion recognition, and intellectual and executive functioning. A total of 38 adult subjects with SBM were included in this study, participating in a randomized controlled trial evaluating the effects of a cognitive rehabilitation intervention for executive dysfunction. Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET) was used as a measure of emotion recognition, and neuropsychological tests and questionnaires were utilized as executive function measures. One third of the participants performed poorer on the emotion recognition task compared to normative data. Emotion recognition may represent an area being affected in adults with SBM, and it is related to verbal IQ. Findings also suggest that executive functions and emotion recognition ability in adults with SBM are independent.

Keywords: IQ; Social cognition; executive function; mentalizing; spina bifida.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emotions
  • Executive Function*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Intelligence*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Spinal Dysraphism / psychology*
  • Theory of Mind*
  • Young Adult