Social understanding: how does it fare with advancing years?

Sullivan, Susan and Ruffman, Ted (2004) Social understanding: how does it fare with advancing years? British Journal of Psychology, 95 (1). pp. 1-18. ISSN 0007-1269

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Abstract

Until recently, theory of mind abilities have received little attention beyond the childhood years. However, pioneering work carried out by Happé, Winner, and Brownell (1998) has opened the doors on a new and exciting area of research that examines theory of mind abilities in later years. Happé et al. reported that theory of mind performance was superior in the elderly. Yet, in direct contrast to these findings, Maylor, Moulson, Muncer, and Taylor (2002) report a decline in theory of mind abilities with advancing years. We used Happé et al.'s task and, like Maylor et al., found a decline in theory of mind abilities in the elderly. Yet this deficit was related to a decline in fluid abilities. We then examined whether deficits in social understanding in the elderly could also be independent of fluid abilities. We used two new tasks; identifying emotions from still photos and identifying emotions and cognitions from video clips. Again we found a decline in social understanding in the elderly, and in this case, the decline was independent of changes in fluid abilities.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0180 Experimental psychology
Depositing User: Susan Sullivan
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2013 10:39
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2013 10:39
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/46733
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