The neuropsychological disorder of anosognosia for hemiplegia (AHP) can offer unique insights into the neurocognitive processes of body consciousness and representation. Previous studies have found associations between selective social cognition deficits and anosognosia. In this study, we examined how such social cognition deficits may directly interact with representations of one’s body as disabled in AHP. We used a modified set of previously validated Theory of Mind (ToM) stories to create disability-related content that was related to post-stroke paralysis and to investigate differences between right hemisphere damage patients with (n = 19) and without (n = 19) AHP. We expected AHP patients to perform worse than controls when trying to infer paralysis-related mental states in the paralysis-related ToM stories and explored whether such differences depended on the inference patients were asked to perform (e.g. self or other referent perspective-taking). Using an advanced structural neuroimaging technique, we expected selective social cognitive deficits to be associated with posterior parietal cortex lesions and deficits in self-referent perspective-taking in paralysis-related mentalising to be associated with frontoparietal disconnections. Group- and individual-level results revealed that AHP patients performed worse than HP controls when trying to infer paralysis-related mental states. Exploratory lesion analysis results revealed some of the hypothesised lesions, but also unexpected white matter disconnections in the posterior body and splenium of the corpus collosum associated with a self-referent perspective-taking in paralysis-related ToM stories. The study has implications for the multi-layered nature of body awareness, including abstract, social perspectives and beliefs about the body.

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This post is Copyright: Sahba Besharati,
Paul M. Jenkinson,
Michael Kopelman,
Mark Solms,
Cristina Bulgarelli,
Valentina Pacella,
Valentina Moro,
Aikaterini Fotopoulou | June 20, 2024
Wiley: Journal of Neuropsychology: Table of Contents