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Adult age differences in social cognition

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Cognitive decline in old age is well documented, but is less clear how the aging process affects social cognitive processes such as gaze following and theory of mind. Older people tend to have positivity biases in processing emotional information which might have consequences for social cognition. In this talk I will outline the effects of age on social processing tasks which differ in their cognitive and emotional load. The specificity of any age effects will be considered, along with any evidence of positivity biases in the tasks. Links between social cognitive changes with age and broader indices of quality of life and interpersonal interaction are also considered.


I got my PhD from the Age and Cognitive Performance Research Centre at the University of Manchester in 1993 and then became a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Aberdeen. I have since been promoted to a Chair in Psychology. My main research interests are the effects of aging and neurological disease on the interface between cognition and emotion.

This talk is part of the Zangwill Club series.

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