Syndromes associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration change response patterns on visual analogue scales.


Self-report scales are widely used in cognitive neuroscience and psychology. However, they rest on the central assumption that respondents engage meaningfully. We hypothesise that this assumption does not hold for many patients, especially those with syndromes associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration. In this study we investigated differences in response patterns on a visual analogue scale between people with frontotemporal degeneration and controls. We found that people with syndromes associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration respond with more invariance and less internal consistency than controls, with Bayes Factors = 15.2 and 14.5 respectively indicating strong evidence for a group difference. There was also evidence that patient responses feature lower entropy. These results have important implications for the interpretation of self-report data in clinical populations. Meta-response markers related to response patterns, rather than the values reported on individual items, may be an informative addition to future research and clinical practise.