What is it about?

In our study, we measured the social skills that people use when they interact with others in people with early memory issues or dementia. We tested a new tool called the Edinburgh Social Cognition Test (ESCoT), alongside other common tests of people’s social skills. We also looked at whether changes in behaviour in people with memory issues are linked to their poorer social abilities. We tested 28 people with memory issues or a diagnosis of dementia and 28 others without such problems. We showed that those with memory difficulties performed more poorly on the ESCoT test and the Reading the Mind in the Eyes (RME) test. Moreover, specific changes in behaviour, such as a lack of feeling or emotion or difficulty understanding others' feelings, were associated with lower scores on certain aspects of the ESCoT. Unlike existing tests of people’s social skills, the ESCoT seemed to better capture social difficulties in people with memory complaints or a diagnosis of dementia. Different subtests of the ESCoT were linked to different behaviour changes. This suggests that the ESCoT could aid our understanding of how social skills are affected in people with memory issues or dementia.

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Why is it important?

This study suggests that a new test, the ESCoT, is better at identifying problems in social skills in people with memory issues or dementia compared to existing tests. It also showed that certain behaviours, like feeling less interested or struggling to understand others' feelings, were connected to how well people performed on this test. These findings are important as they could help doctors better diagnose poor social skills, as well as support people with memory issues or dementia, by identifying ways to manage their behaviour and improving their overall well-being.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The relationship between social cognitive processes and behavior changes in people with amnestic mild cognitive impairment or dementia using the Edinburgh Social Cognition Test (ESCoT)., Neuropsychology, December 2023, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/neu0000929.
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