Neuropsychology Review

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 160–172 | Cite as

Social Cognition in Multiple Sclerosis: a Meta-Analysis

  • Emre Bora
  • Serkan Özakbaş
  • Dennis Velakoulis
  • Mark Walterfang


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with cognitive decline and impairment in social functioning. Accumulating evidence suggests that patients with MS are impaired in social cognition, including theory of mind (ToM) and emotion recognition. In this meta-analysis of 24 studies, facial emotion recognition and ToM performances of 989 patients with MS and 836 healthy controls were compared. MS was associated with significant impairments with medium effect sizes in ToM (d = 0.57) and facial emotion recognition (d = 0.61). Among individual emotions recognition of fear and anger were particularly impaired. The severity of social cognitive deficits was significantly associated with non-social cognitive impairment. These deficits in social cognition may underpin difficulties in social functioning in MS. However, there is a need for further studies investigating the longitudinal evolution of social cognitive deficits and their neural correlates in MS.


Theory of mind Social cognition Emotion recognition Cognitive Multiple sclerosis 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Competing Interests

Authors have no conflicts of interest regarding subject of this manuscript. Dr. Walterfang reports grants from Actelion pharmaceuticals, personal fees from Actelion pharmaceuticals, personal fees from Orphazyme, outside the submitted work; Dr Ozakbas reports non-financial support from Bayer, Novartis, Merck-Serono and Teva.

Supplementary material

11065_2016_9320_MOESM1_ESM.doc (139 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 139 kb)
11065_2016_9320_MOESM2_ESM.doc (128 kb)
ESM 2 (DOC 128 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emre Bora
    • 1
    • 2
  • Serkan Özakbaş
    • 3
  • Dennis Velakoulis
    • 1
  • Mark Walterfang
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Melbourne and Melbourne HealthCarlton SouthAustralia
  2. 2.KarsiyakaTurkey
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyDokuz Eylul UniversityBalçovaTurkey
  4. 4.Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental HealthUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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