Social capabilities in Alzheimer’s patients
Patients with stage-I (very mild and mild) Alzheimer’s disease were asked to participate in a Dictator Game, a type of game in which a subject has to decide how to allocate a certain amount of money between himself and another person. The game enables the experimenter to examine the influence of social norms and social preferences on the decision-making process. When the results of treatments involving Alzheimer’s disease patients were compared with those of identical treatments involving patients with mild cognitive impairment or healthy control subjects, with similar ages and social backgrounds, no statistically significant difference was found. This finding suggests that stage-I Alzheimer’s disease patients may be as capable of making decisions involving social norms and preferences as other individuals of their age. Whatever brain structures are affected by the disease, they do not appear to influence, at this early stage, the neural basis for cooperation-enhancing social interactions.
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