Psychologie & NeuroPsychiatrie du vieillissement


Self-consciousness, consciousness of the Other and dementias Volume 5, issue 2, Juin 2007


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Service de neurologie, La Milétrie, CHU de Poitiers, Université de Poitiers

Studies of self-consciousness in dementia concern essentially anosognosia or the loss of insight. However, Self-consciousness is multifaceted: it includes awareness of the body, perceptions, one’s own history, identity, and one’s own projects. Self-consciousness is linked to consciousness of others i.e. to social cognition supported by identification of others, but also by comprehension of facial expression of emotions, comprehension and expression of emotional prosody, pragmatic abilities, ability to infer other’s people’s mental states, thoughts, and feelings (theory of mind and empathy), knowledge of social norms and rules, social reasoning. The subtypes of dementias (and namely Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia) affect heterogeneously the different aspects of the self-and other-consciousness. Further studies are needed for a better knowledge of the complex relationship between Self-consciousness, social cognition, decision making and neuropsychiatric symptoms and behavioral disturbances occurring in demented patients.