Self-Referential Processing Predicts Social Cognitive Ability

Academic Article


  • Self-referential processing is critical for making sense of others. However, there remains surprisingly little research examining associations between behavioral assessments of self-referential processing and social cognition (i.e., tasks assessing one’s understanding of others’ thoughts and emotions). This study (n = 396) examined this link by associating accuracy in a self-referential processing task with two assessments of social cognition (i.e., theory of mind and empathic accuracy). Exploratory analyses included an examination of the relationship between self-referential processing and autism-related traits, as well as depression symptoms, both of which have been previously associated with decreased social cognitive ability. Self-referential processing was positively related to performance in both social cognition tasks, and these relationships were not valence-specific or moderated by gender. Moreover, no associations were found between self-referential processing and autism-related traits or depressive symptoms. Our findings provide behavioral evidence for a relation between self-referential processing and social cognition.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dinulescu S; Alvi T; Rosenfield D; Sunahara CS; Lee J; Tabak BA
  • Start Page

  • 99
  • End Page

  • 107
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 1