Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging

Living Edition
| Editors: Danan Gu, Matthew E. Dupre

Social Cognition

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69892-2_834-1



Social cognition is a sub-topic of social psychology that focuses on how people process, store, and apply information about other people and social situations. It focuses on the role that cognitive processes play in social interactions (Higgins and Bargh 1987). With respect to old age, social cognition in aging focuses especially on how aging factors influence individuals’ processing of social information.


Researchers have conceptualized social cognition along with two main domains: perception and attribution (Heberlein and Adolphs 2004). Perception refers to social perception and emotion processing, while attribution is related to the theory of mind (ToM) or mentalizing. ToM is the capacity to understand others’ mental states and to appreciate that these may differ from their own (Premack and Woodruff 1978). So far, most of the studies in “normal cognitive aging” focus on the ToM aspect of social cognition (Love 2015). The...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaSingaporeSingapore

Section editors and affiliations

  • Rongjun Yu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore