Social cognition refers to the cognitive processes and skills involved in interactions with other people. Social cognition includes specific processes and skills that influence social competence throughout the life span, such as cooperation, conversational turn-taking, imitation, joint attention, social referencing, mental state understanding, and other attributions about the behavior of others. Social cognition also refers to the social understanding that results from these cognitive processes. Developmental scientists study social cognition processes individually and in concert in both cross-sectional and longitudinal designs to identify the properties and developmental trajectories of social cognition. This entry first introduces social cognition processes and skills and describes how these processes and skills develop across the life span from birth through old age. Next, the entry identifies some of the ways ...

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