Social interactions in old age

Victoria E. A. Brunsdon (Lead / Corresponding author), Elisabeth E. F. Bradford (Lead / Corresponding author), Heather J. Ferguson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Social relationships play an important role in healthy ageing, with positive social interaction experiences predicting better mental and physical health. Research into social-cognitive abilities has often focused on the development of these abilities in childhood. This chapter will look at the other end of the lifespan, examining changes in social cognition abilities in older individuals as a result of healthy ageing. In particular, it focuses on several social processes, including Theory of Mind, empathy, emotion recognition, action understanding, and imitation, looking at reported changes in these abilities as a result of advancing age, and factors that may influence these changes across individuals. It also discusses potential intervention protocols aimed at reducing social-cognitive declines in older age, and how these reported abilities influence day-to-day functioning in the social world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe cognitive basis of social interaction across the lifespan
EditorsHeather J. Ferguson, Elisabeth E.F. Bradford
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)9780198843290
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • ageing
  • cognitive decline
  • social cognition
  • Theory of Mind
  • empathy


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