Cognitive Neuroscience


Frontiers in psychology




Formal publication: April 2024

Authors: Carriedo, N., Rodríguez-Villagra, O. A., Moguilner, S., Morales-Sepulveda, J. P., Huepe-Artigas, D., Soto, V., Franco-O’Byrne, D., Ibáñez, A., Bekinschtein, T. A., & Huepe, D.

Abstract: Introduction: Social adaptation is a multifaceted process that encompasses cognitive, social, and affective factors. Previous research often focused on isolated variables, overlooking their interactions, especially in challenging environments. Our study addresses this by investigating how cognitive (working memory, verbal intelligence, self-regulation), social (affective empathy, family networks, loneliness), and psychological (locus of control, self-esteem, perceived stress) factors interact to influence social adaptation.

Methods: We analyzed data from 254 adults (55% female) aged 18 to 46 in economically vulnerable households in Santiago, Chile. We used Latent profile analysis (LPA) and machine learning to uncover distinct patters of socioadaptive features and identify the most discriminating features.

Results: LPA showed two distinct psychosocial adaptation profiles: one characterized by effective psychosocial adaptation and another by poor psychosocial adaptation. The adaptive profile featured individuals with strong emotional, cognitive, and behavioral self-regulation, an internal locus of control, high self-esteem, lower stress levels, reduced affective empathy, robust family support, and decreased loneliness. Conversely, the poorly adapted profile exhibited the opposite traits. Machine learning pinpointed six key differentiating factors in various adaptation pathways within the same vulnerable context: high self-esteem, cognitive and behavioral self-regulation, low stress levels, higher education, and increased social support.

Discussion: This research carries significant policy implications, highlighting the need to reinforce protective factors and psychological resources, such as self-esteem, self-regulation, and education, to foster effective adaptation in adversity. Additionally, we identified critical risk factors impacting social adaptation in vulnerable populations, advancing our understanding of this intricate phenomenon.