Human cognitive neuroscience seminar

Speaker: Giulia Funghi

Title: Exploring Social Cognition in Healthy Aging and Parkinson's Disease: Insights from Neuroimaging and Intervention Studies

Abstract: Social cognition is a complex cognitive domain that encompasses the processes of perceiving, interpreting and responding to social information and plays a critical role in human interactions and relationships. In recent years, a growing body of evidence has demonstrated the presence of social-cognitive dysfunction in the elderly and in patients with neurodegenerative diseases. Consistently, the DSM-5 has included social cognition among the domains to be assessed for the diagnosis of neurocognitive disorders, but there is still a huge discrepancy between the abundant experimental research evidence and the poor clinical application of social cognition.

This talk will present two different but related studies investigating social cognition in ageing and neurodegenerative disorders, in particular Parkinson's disease (PD).

The first study investigated whether clinically relevant socio-cognitive dysfunction is detectable in non-demented PD patients, whether emotional processing is impaired early in PD, and what the underlying neural correlate is, using both structural and functional resting-state magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The results revealed clinically relevant deficits associated with functional and structural changes in emotion-related brain regions, highlighting the critical role of the bilateral amygdala in the performance of PD patients.

The second was a digital randomised controlled clinical trial to promote socio-cognitive wellbeing in older adults, the Social and Cognitive Online Training (SCOT) project. The results showed encouraging improvements in executive function and social cognition, particularly in participants who performed best during the training.

Together, these studies shed light on the complex interplay between social cognition, ageing and neurodegeneration, and provide insights into potential intervention strategies to promote socio-cognitive wellbeing across the lifespan.


The seminars are organised by the Human Cognitive Neuroscience research group. For further information, or if you would like to join the e-mail list for these seminars, please email Ed Silson.

Ed Silson

Human cognitive neuroscience

Feb 21 2024 -

Human cognitive neuroscience seminar

2024-02-21: Exploring Social Cognition in Healthy Aging and Parkinson's Disease: Insights from Neuroimaging and Intervention Studies

Room S38, Psychology Building, 7 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JZ