UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Social Cognition Seminar - Social and Non-social Reasoning in Adolescence and Adulthood

09 March 2017, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm

Event Information


Room 311, 26 Bedford Way, WC1H 0AP

Speaker: Lucia Magis Weinberg, Experimental Psychology, UCL

Reasoning during social interactions requires the individual manipulation of mental representations of our traits and those of others as well as their joint consideration (relational integration). Research using non-social paradigms has linked relational integration to activity in the rostrolateral prefrontal cortex (RLPFC). Here, we investigated whether social reasoning is supported by the same general system or whether it additionally relies on regions of the social brain network, such as the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC). We further assessed the development of social reasoning. In the social task, participants evaluated themselves or a friend, or compared themselves with their friend, on a series of traits. In the non-social task, participants evaluated their hometown or another town, or compared the two. In a behavioural study comprising 193 female participants (9-36 years), we show that integrating relations compared to performing single relational judgements improves during adolescence, both for social and non-social information. Thirty-nine female participants (10-31 years) took part in a neuroimaging study using a similar task. Activation of the relational integration network, including the RLPFC, was observed in the comparison condition of both the social and nonsocial tasks. In addition, MPFC showed greater activation when participants processed social as opposed to non-social information. Developmentally, the right anterior insula showed greater activity in adolescents compared with adults during the comparison of non-social vs. social information. This study shows parallel recruitment of the social brain and the relational reasoning network during the relational integration of social information in adolescence and adulthood. 

Time: 3pm, 9th March 2017

Venue: Room 311, 26 Bedford Way, WC1H 0AP