Understanding the role of social cognition in neurodegenerative Disease: A scoping review on an overlooked problem

Giuseppa Maresca, Maria Grazia Maggio, Desiree Latella, Antonino Naro, Simona Portaro, Rocco Salvatore Calabrò

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Social cognition (SC) is the set of socio-cognitive processes that guide automatic and voluntary behaviors by modulating behavioral responses, it includes both cognitive (Theory of the mind - ToM) and affective aspects (Empathy). SC also includes representations of internal somatic states, self-knowledge, perception of others, communication with others and interpersonal motivations. SC is relevant in daily life and reflects the neural complexity of social processing. The purpose of this scoping review is to evaluate the role of SC in neurological disorders, also considering the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying SC and potential assessment tools. The included studies were carried out between 2010 and 2019 and were found on PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane, and Web of Sciences databases, using the combined terms “social cognition”; “dementia”; “multiple sclerosis”; “parkinson”, “amyotrophic lateral sclerosis”, “neurodegenerative disease”. Our review has shown that different SC domains are affected by several neurological conditions, with regards to dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Further studies are needed to investigate the association between cognitive and social deficits, for a better management of patients with neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Dementia
  • Empathy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkison's disease
  • Theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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