The cognitive basis of social interaction across the lifespan

Heather J. Ferguson (Editor), Elisabeth E. F. Bradford (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


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.

This book explores how human social interactive abilities change across the lifespan, looking at infancy, early and middle childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, adulthood, and older age, as well as healthy and atypical development. Over nine chapters, leading researchers in the field provide an overview of the most recent findings, contribute to key debates on social phenomena (including their underlying mechanisms, environmental triggers, and neural basis), and outline innovative avenues for future directions.

Written in an accessible style, this book will appeal to a wide range of readers including academics and students of psychology, neuroscience, psychiatry, linguistics, and philosophy, as well as providing valuable insights for clinicians and practitioners working in the fields of social care, mental health, and education.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages256
ISBN (Print)9780198843290
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


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