Social Problem Solving, Social Cognition, and Mild Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson's Disease

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Cognitive impairment is a recognized feature of Parkinson's disease (PD), which, even if mild, can impact some aspects of a patient's ability to deal with everyday life. The current study examined the ability to solve social problems in three groups of participants: PD patients with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI); PD patients with no evidence of cognitive impairment (PD-N); and non-PD age-matched controls. All participants completed measures examining their ability to understand the actions and sarcastic remarks of others; provide a range of, and select, optimal solutions to social problems; and their self-perception of problem-solving abilities. Deficits emerged in the PD-MCI, but not the PD-N, group, suggesting that difficulties related to pathophysiological changes are associated with cognitive impairment and not PD per se. The findings are discussed with reference to the substrate of executive function and social cognition, and their implications for social interaction and everyday problem solving for people with PD.

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