Impaired personal trait knowledge, but spared other-person trait knowledge, in an individual with bilateral damage to the medial prefrontal cortex

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Functional neuroimaging has revealed that in healthy adults retrieval of personal trait knowledge is associated with increased activation in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Separately, neuropsychology has shown that the self-referential nature of memory can be disrupted in individuals with mPFC lesions. However, it remains unclear whether damage to the mPFC impairs retrieval of personal trait knowledge. Therefore, in this neuropsychological case study we investigated the integrity of personal trait knowledge in J.S., an individual who sustained bilateral damage to the mPFC as a result of an anterior communicating artery aneurysm. We measured both accuracy and consistency of J.S.’s personal trait knowledge as well as his trait knowledge of another, frequently seen person, and compared his performance to a group of healthy adults. Findings revealed that J.S. had severely impaired accuracy and consistency of his personal trait knowledge relative to control participants. In contrast, J.S.’s accuracy and consistency of other-person trait knowledge was intact in comparison to control participants. Moreover, J.S. showed a normal positivity bias in his trait ratings. These results, albeit based on a single case, implicate the mPFC as critical for retrieval of personal trait knowledge. Findings also cast doubt on the likelihood that the mPFC, in particular the ventral mPFC, is necessary for storage and retrieval of trait knowledge of other people. Therefore, this case study adds to a growing body of evidence that mPFC damage can disrupt the link between self and memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-253
Number of pages9
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume89
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

Keywords

  • Autobiographical memory
  • Personal semantics
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Self
  • Self-referential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Impaired personal trait knowledge, but spared other-person trait knowledge, in an individual with bilateral damage to the medial prefrontal cortex'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this