Formal publication:February 2021
Authors: Garcia-Cordero, I., Migeot, J., Fittipaldi, S., Aquino, A., Campo, C. G., García, A., & Ibáñez, A.
Abstract: Metacognition (monitoring) of emotion recognition is fundamental for social interactions. Correct recognition of and confidence in the emotional meaning inferred from others’ faces are fundamental for guiding and adjusting interpersonal behavior. Yet, although emotion recognition impairments are well documented across neurodegenerative diseases, the role of metacognition in this domain remains poorly understood. Here, we evaluate multimodal neurocognitive markers of metacognition in 83 subjects, encompassing patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia [bvFTD, n = 18], Alzheimer’s disease [AD, n = 27], and demographically-matched controls (n = 38). Participants performed a classical facial emotion recognition task and, after each trial, they rated their confidence in their performance. We examined two measures of metacognition: (i) calibration: how well confidence tracks accuracy; and (ii) a metacognitive index (MI) capturing the magnitude of the difference between confidence and accuracy. Then, whole-brain grey matter volume and fMRI-derived resting-state functional connectivity were analyzed to track associations with metacognition. Results showed that metacognition deficits were linked to basic emotion recognition. Metacognition of negative emotions was compromised in patients, especially disgust in bvFTD as well as sadness in AD. Metacognition impairments were associated with reduced volume of fronto-temporo-insular and subcortical areas in bvFTD and fronto-parietal regions in AD. Metacognition deficits were associated with disconnection of large-scale fronto-posterior networks for both groups. This study reveals a link between emotion recognition and metacognition in neurodegenerative diseases. The characterization of metacognitive impairments in bvFTD and AD would be relevant for understanding patients’ daily life changes in social behavior.
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