Frontotemporal Dementia Selectively Impairs Transitive Reasoning About Familiar Spatial Environments

Oshin Vartanian*, Vinod Goel, Michael Tierney, Edward D. Huey, Jordan Grafman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Although patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are known to exhibit a wide range of cognitive and personality difficulties, some evidence suggests that there may be a degree of selectivity in their reasoning impairments. Based on a recent review of the neuroimaging literature on reasoning, the authors hypothesized that the presence or absence of familiar content may have a selective impact on the reasoning abilities of patients with FTD. Specifically, the authors predicted that patients with frontal-variant FTD would be more impaired when reasoning about transitive arguments involving familiar spatial environments than when reasoning about identical logical arguments involving unfamiliar spatial environments. As predicted, patients with FTD were less accurate than normal controls only when the content of arguments involved familiar spatial environments. These results indicate a degree of selectivity in the cognitive deficits of this patient population and suggest that the frontal-temporal lobe system may play a necessary role in reasoning about familiar material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-626
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • executive function
  • frontotemporal dementia
  • reasoning
  • semantic memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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