Cognitive Neuroscience






Formal publication: July 2022

Authors: Quesque F, Coutrot A, Cox S, de Souza LC, Baez S, Cardona JF, Mulet-Perreault H, Flanagan E, Neely-Prado A, Clarens MF, Cassimiro L, Musa G, Kemp J, Botzung A, Philippi N, Cosseddu M, Trujillo-Llano C, Grisales-Cardenas JS, Fittipaldi S, Magrath Guimet N, Calandri IL, Crivelli L, Sedeno L, Garcia AM, Moreno F, Indakoetxea B, Benussi A, Brandão Moura MV, Santamaria-Garcia H, Matallana D, Pryanishnikova G, Morozova A, Iakovleva O, Veryugina N, Levin O, Zhao L, Liang J, Duning T, Lebouvier T, Pasquier F, Huepe D, Barandiaran M, Johnen A, Lyashenko E, Allegri RF, Borroni B, Blanc F, Wang F, Yassuda MS, Lillo P, Teixeira AL, Caramelli P, Hudon C, Slachevsky A, Ibáñez A, Hornberger M, Bertoux M.


Measures of social cognition have now become central in neuropsychology, being essential for early and differential diagnoses, follow-up, and rehabilitation in a wide range of conditions. With the scientific world becoming increasingly interconnected, international neuropsychological and medical collaborations are burgeoning to tackle the global challenges that are mental health conditions. These initiatives commonly merge data across a diversity of populations and countries, while ignoring their specificity.

Objective: In this context, we aimed to estimate the influence of participants’ nationality on social cognition evaluation. This issue is of particular importance as most cognitive tasks are developed in highly specific contexts, not representative of that encountered by the world’s population.

Method: Through a large international study across 18 sites, neuropsychologists assessed core aspects of social cognition in 587 participants from 12 countries using traditional and widely used tasks.

Results: Age, gender, and education were found to impact measures of mentalizing and emotion recognition. After controlling for these factors, differences between countries accounted for more than 20% of the variance on both measures. Importantly, it was possible to isolate participants’ nationality from potential translation issues, which classically constitute a major limitation.

Conclusions: Overall, these findings highlight the need for important methodological shifts to better represent social cognition in both fundamental research and clinical practice, especially within emerging international networks and consortia. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).