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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 685613, 9 pages
Research Article

Mental State Inferences Abilities Contribution to Verbal Irony Comprehension in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment

1École de Psychologie, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada G1V 0A6
2Centre de Recherche de l’Institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Québec, Québec, QC, Canada G1J 2G3
3Département de Réadaptation, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada G1V 0A6
4Clinique Interdisciplinaire de Mémoire, Département des Sciences Neurologiques, CHU de Québec, Québec, QC, Canada G1J 1Z4

Received 17 March 2015; Revised 20 May 2015; Accepted 24 May 2015

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Bellelli

Copyright © 2015 G. Gaudreau et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. The present study examined mentalizing capacities as well as the relative implication of mentalizing in the comprehension of ironic and sincere assertions among 30 older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and 30 healthy control (HC) subjects. Method. Subjects were administered a task evaluating mentalizing by means of short stories. A verbal irony comprehension task, in which participants had to identify ironic or sincere statements within short stories, was also administered; the design of the task allowed uniform implication of mentalizing across the conditions. Results. Findings indicated that participants with MCI have second-order mentalizing difficulties compared to HC subjects. Moreover, MCI participants were impaired compared to the HC group in identifying ironic or sincere stories, both requiring mental inference capacities. Conclusion. This study suggests that, in individuals with MCI, difficulties in the comprehension of ironic and sincere assertions are closely related to second-order mentalizing deficits. These findings support previous data suggesting a strong relationship between irony comprehension and mentalizing.