ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (1): 46-54.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00046

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Influence of social interaction on cognitive functions in the elderly

ZHAO Dan; YU Lin   

  1. (Laboratory for Mental Health and Social Adaptation, School of Psychology, Southwest University;
    Center for Mental Health Education, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China)
  • Received:2015-05-13 Online:2016-01-15 Published:2016-01-15
  • Contact: YU Lin, E-mail:


Social interaction is an important factor that affects older adults’ cognitive functions. Social interaction contains three elements: social networks, social support and social engagement. Previous research has indicated that social interaction has a positive effect on cognitive functions but is does not go deep and specific. For example, the type of social networks may be more crucial than the size of social networks in clarifying the relationship between social networks and cognitive functions. Besides, for older adults, the more social support does not mean the better cognitive functions. Only appropriate social support protects susceptive older adults from cognitive impairment. Also, although social engagement has a continuous protective effect on cognitive functions, different types of activities benefit to different cognitive domains. Therefore, future research should conduct thorough studies on the following domains: firstly social networks typology, secondly mediators and moderators between social support and cognition, and intervention study about effects of social activity on cognitive function.

Key words: social networks, social support, social engagement, cognitive function, elderly