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      Emotion recognition and cognitive empathy deficits in adolescent offenders revealed by context-sensitive tasks

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          Emotion recognition and empathy abilities require the integration of contextual information in real-life scenarios. Previous reports have explored these domains in adolescent offenders (AOs) but have not used tasks that replicate everyday situations. In this study we included ecological measures with different levels of contextual dependence to evaluate emotion recognition and empathy in AOs relative to non-offenders, controlling for the effect of demographic variables. We also explored the influence of fluid intelligence (FI) and executive functions (EFs) in the prediction of relevant deficits in these domains. Our results showed that AOs exhibit deficits in context-sensitive measures of emotion recognition and cognitive empathy. Difficulties in these tasks were neither explained by demographic variables nor predicted by FI or EFs. However, performance on measures that included simpler stimuli or could be solved by explicit knowledge was either only partially affected by demographic variables or preserved in AOs. These findings indicate that AOs show contextual social-cognition impairments which are relatively independent of basic cognitive functioning and demographic variables.

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          Most cited references 68

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          Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: the implicit association test.

          An implicit association test (IAT) measures differential association of 2 target concepts with an attribute. The 2 concepts appear in a 2-choice task (2-choice task (e.g., flower vs. insect names), and the attribute in a 2nd task (e.g., pleasant vs. unpleasant words for an evaluation attribute). When instructions oblige highly associated categories (e.g., flower + pleasant) to share a response key, performance is faster than when less associated categories (e.g., insect & pleasant) share a key. This performance difference implicitly measures differential association of the 2 concepts with the attribute. In 3 experiments, the IAT was sensitive to (a) near-universal evaluative differences (e.g., flower vs. insect), (b) expected individual differences in evaluative associations (Japanese + pleasant vs. Korean + pleasant for Japanese vs. Korean subjects), and (c) consciously disavowed evaluative differences (Black + pleasant vs. White + pleasant for self-described unprejudiced White subjects).
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              The social brain in psychiatric and neurological disorders.

              Psychiatric and neurological disorders have historically provided key insights into the structure-function relationships that subserve human social cognition and behavior, informing the concept of the 'social brain'. In this review, we take stock of the current status of this concept, retaining a focus on disorders that impact social behavior. We discuss how the social brain, social cognition, and social behavior are interdependent, and emphasize the important role of development and compensation. We suggest that the social brain, and its dysfunction and recovery, must be understood not in terms of specific structures, but rather in terms of their interaction in large-scale networks. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front. Hum. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                21 October 2014
                : 8
                1Laboratory of Experimental Psychology and Neuroscience, Institute of Cognitive Neurology Buenos Aires, Argentina
                2National Scientific and Technical Research Council Buenos Aires, Argentina
                3UDP-INECO Foundation Core on Neuroscience, Diego Portales University Santiago, Chile
                4Universidad Autonoma del Caribe Barranquilla, Colombia
                5Human Cognitive Neuroscience, Psychology Department, University of Edinburgh Edinburgh, UK
                6Scottish Dementia Clinical Research Network Perth, UK
                7Neuropsy and Biomedical Unit, Health School, University Surcolombiana Neiva, Colombia
                8Universidad del Norte Barranquilla, Colombia
                9Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Australian Research Council Sydney, NSW, Australia
                Author notes

                Edited by: John J. Foxe, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, USA

                Reviewed by: Inti Brazil, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Netherlands; Patricia Lockwood, University College London, UK; Peter Vermeulen, Autisme Centraal, Belgium

                *Correspondence: Agustin Ibanez, Laboratory of Experimental Psychology and Neuroscience, Institute of Cognitive Neurology, Pacheco de Melo 1854/60, C1126AAB Buenos Aires, Argentina e-mail: aibanez@

                Maria Luz Gonzalez-Gadea and Eduar Herrera are first authors.

                This article was submitted to the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

                Copyright © 2014 Gonzalez-Gadea, Herrera, Parra, Gomez Mendez, Baez, Manes and Ibanez.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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                Figures: 2, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 87, Pages: 11, Words: 0
                Original Research Article


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