Theory of mind plasticity in aging: The role of baseline, verbal knowledge, and executive functions

Serena Lecce, Irene Ceccato, Alessia Rosi, Federica Bianco, Sara Bottiroli, Elena Cavallini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Theory of Mind (ToM) refers to the ability to attribute mental states to the self and others in order to explain and predict social behaviour. Meta-analytic results have shown a decline in ToM abilities in healthy older adults. Recent research has also highlighted the possibility of enhancing older adults' ToM performance through group conversations focused on mental states. Our aim was to determine whether the extent to which older people benefited from a ToM training was predicted by performance on a battery of executive functioning tasks, on baselines in ToM tasks, on verbal knowledge. Forty-three older adults (60-84 years) participated in a three-session ToM training programme that has previously shown to be effective in improving ToM ability. Results showed that verbal knowledge predicted training gains in practiced ToM tasks. In addition, age, executive functions and baseline performance predicted training gains in non-practiced ToM tasks. Results are discussed in light of the amplification model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Apr 7 2017

Keywords

  • Journal Article

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