Social cognition and Theory of Mind in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis

M. Banati, J. Sandor, A. Mike, E. Illes, L. Bors, A. Feldmann, R. Herold, Z. Illes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Theory of Mind (ToM) is an ability to understand and interpret another person's beliefs, emotions, and intentions. ToM requires both cognitive and emotional perspective taking and is deficient in several neuropsychiatric disorders all connected with impaired social functioning. Cognitive and mood dysfunctions have been recognized as common symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods: We investigated social cognition in 40 ambulatory patients with MS compared to 35 healthy controls by using verbal and non-verbal ToM tests (Faux Pas, Baron-Cohen's Adult Eyes and Faces test) and Baron-Cohen's Empathy questionnaire. The effect of disability and disease duration on social cognition was also analyzed by multiple logistic regression analysis after adjusting for confounding factors of age, gender, intelligence, depression, and anxiety. Results: Even when adjusted, patients with MS made significantly more mistakes in non-verbal test (adult Eyes Test), and more disabled patients performed worse in both verbal and non-verbal ToM tests (Eyes Test and Faux Pas) compared to controls. Patients with a shorter disease course described themselves as more empathetic. Discussion: In the absence of marked cognitive decline and disability, patients with ambulatory MS had a deficit interpreting social situations and performing in interpersonal contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-433
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2010


  • Cognition
  • Empathy
  • Faux pas
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Social cognition
  • Theory of Mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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