In this case study, HY had lived in a persistent vegetative state for 6 years after onset of encephalitis at age 10. His processing of emotionally and socially meaningful information was impaired by the age of 20, as it is in individuals with amygdala damage; however, his performance on tasks requiring understanding a "theory of mind" improved by age 22. A series of responses to photographs of facial expressions and to a gambling task were obtained to evaluate his functioning related to the amygdala. He was particularly impaired in recognizing fear. One may tentatively suggest that processing emotional signals, i.e., functioning related to the amygdala, may not play an important role in the neural systems supporting development of understanding a "theory of mind."
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