CogniFit's Science blog: Social Cognition And Its Relevance To You

Social Cognition And Its Relevance To You

The social world has completely transformed over time and is even greater today than just a few years ago. Social networking has altered the way people meet, interact and stay in touch with each other. But to fully understand how big of an impact it has on your life, you must understand what social cognition is.

In the simplest of terms, social cognition consists of the study of how people process social information; particularly its encoding, storage, retrieval and the application to social situations. Every time you receive a text message, get an email or IM online, you are partaking in the social facet of cognition.

Many take interest in the links between social cognition and brain function, which is why there have been countless neuropsychological studies conducted. These show that brain injury can adversely affect social judgments and interaction, especially to the frontal lobes.

When looking at social cognition, mental illnesses often come up as well. People diagnosed with certain mental health illnesses tend to show differences in how they process social information. With an expanding research field now looking at how such conditions can bias cognitive processes involved in social interaction, there is hope to soon identify a connection.

Through the process, researchers have found that certain aspects of psychological processes promote social behavior may be innate like face recognition.

Even more remarkable is what scientists are beginning to learn about newborn babies. They have found that babies younger than one hour old can already selectively recognize and respond to faces. There is nothing more mesmerizing as a parent than to see brand new addition to your family. And to know that the baby can actually acknowledge you as the mom or dad is that much greater.

People with some developmental disorders like autism and Williams syndrome have shown differences in social interaction and communication as well compared to unaffected peers. It is the hope of researchers that further studies can help solve this problematic area within.

Social cognition is remarkable considering how much we interact with one another on a daily basis and how we can take in information. Whether it is over the phone, on the computer or in person, everything we comprehend is made possible thanks to the brain and our cognitive abilities. And through various studies, we are now starting to understand what kind of an impact it can have on everyone from a newborn baby to someone with autism.