The Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) scale in Greek patients with dementia.

  • Theodore P. Parthimos
  • Katherine P. Rankin
  • Evi Lykou
  • Vasiliki Kamtsadeli
  • Niki Tsinia
  • Maria Hatzopoulou
  • Evagelia Chatziantoniou
  • Olga Papatriantafyllou
  • Bruce Miller
  • Andrew Papanikolaou
  • Sokratis G. Papageorgiou
  • John D. Papatriantafyllou
Keywords: empathic concern, perspective taking, behavioral variant frontotemporal degeneration, social cognition


Background: Empathy, which refers to a cognitive and emotional process of continuously detecting the changing intentions of others, differs in the behavioral variant frontotemporal degeneration (bvFTD) compared with other dementia types. Interpersonal Reactivity Index scale (IRI) could help in understanding their differential patterns of empathy. We suggested that both emotional and cognitive aspects of empathy would be significantly decreased in bvFTD patients compared to other dementia groups in the Greek population.

Methods: We examined 162 subjects with dementia of various types and normal control. (normal control: 61; Alzheimer’s disease (AD): 61; bvFTD 19; semantic variant of Primary Progressive Aphasia: 14; nonfluent variant of Primary Progressive Aphasia: 7).Two subscales of IRI, Empathic Concern and Perspective-Taking, used to measure the cognitive and emotional components of empathy.

Results: Patients with bvFTD showed extreme deficits in both empathic concern and perspective taking compared to the other patient groups. AD patients showed greater impairment in empathic concern but not in perspective taking than has previously been seen.

Conclusions: In the Greek population, patients with different types of dementia and different patterns of anatomical lesions show a reduction in distinct aspects of empathy. Thus, IRI is a cross-cultural useful tool for immediate neuropsychological examination regarding the evaluation of empathy.

General article