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Tracking the cognitive basis of social communication across the life-span

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "CogSoCoAGE" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: CT2 7NZ

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙488˙028 €
 EC max contribution 1˙488˙028 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2014-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2015
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2015-09-01   to  2021-02-28


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITY OF KENT UK (CANTERBURY, KENT) coordinator 1˙488˙028.00


 Project objective

A vital part of successful everyday social interaction is the ability to infer information about others (e.g. their emotions, visual perspective, and language). Development of these social skills (termed Theory of Mind, ToM) has been linked to improvements in more general cognitive skills, called Executive Functions (EF). However, to date very little is known of how this link varies with advancing age, and no model exists to explain the relationship. Thus, the key aim of the proposed research is to systematically explore the cognitive basis of social communication and how this changes across the life-span. The research will address three complementary objectives: (1) to what degree can variations in ToM ability across the life-span be accounted for by changes in EF skills, (2) how do ToM ability and EF skill change over time in different age groups (using longitudinal methods, i.e. test-retest of the same participants), and (3) can ToM ability be enhanced through training specific EF skills, and how do these training effects differ across the life-span. Contrary to traditional studies of social communication, I will employ an interdisciplinary approach that links theory and practice from cognitive, social, developmental, and clinical (neuro)psychology to study the relationship between ToM and EF across a broad and dynamic age range (10 to 80 yrs old). I will use cutting-edge combinations of techniques (eye-tracking and EEG) and paradigms, alongside sophisticated statistical methods to track the timecourse of social understanding, and model how it relates to EF and more general cognitive/social skills (eg. IQ, language) within and between individuals. This research will open up new horizons in ToM research by developing an intervention programme to enhance the quality of social communication in older adults (thus improving their mental health and well-being), which has the potential to be applied in other individuals with social communication deficits (eg. autism).


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2020 Elisabeth E.F. Bradford, Victoria E.A. Brunsdon, Heather J. Ferguson
The neural basis of belief-attribution across the lifespan: False-belief reasoning and the N400 effect
published pages: 265-280, ISSN: 0010-9452, DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2020.01.016
Cortex 126 2020-03-17
2019 Victoria E.A. Brunsdon, Elisabeth E.F. Bradford, Heather J. Ferguson
Sensorimotor mu rhythm during action observation changes across the lifespan independently from social cognitive processes
published pages: 100659, ISSN: 1878-9293, DOI: 10.1016/j.dcn.2019.100659
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience 38 2020-03-17
2019 Victoria E. A. Brunsdon, Elisabeth E. F. Bradford, Laura Smith, Heather J. Ferguson
Short-term physical training enhances mirror system activation to action observation
published pages: 1-10, ISSN: 1747-0919, DOI: 10.1080/17470919.2019.1660708
Social Neuroscience 2020-03-17
2019 Mante S. Nieuwland, Dale J. Barr, Federica Bartolozzi, Simon Busch-Moreno, Emily Darley, David I. Donaldson, Heather J. Ferguson, Xiao Fu, Evelien Heyselaar, Falk Huettig, E. Matthew Husband, Aine Ito, Nina Kazanina, Vita Kogan, Zdenko Kohút, Eugenia Kulakova, Diane Mézière, Stephen Politzer-Ahles, Guillaume Rousselet, Shirley-Ann Rueschemeyer, Katrien Segaert, Jyrki Tuomainen, Sarah Von Grebme
Dissociable effects of prediction and integration during language comprehension: evidence from a large-scale study using brain potentials
published pages: 20180522, ISSN: 0962-8436, DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2018.0522
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 375/1791 2020-03-17
2018 Nieuwland, Mante S.; Politzer-Ahles, Stephen; Heyselaar, Evelien; Segaert, Katrien; Darley, Emily; Kazanina, Nina; Von Grebmer Zu Wolfsthurn, Sarah; Bartolozzi, Federica; Kogan, Vita; Ito, Aine; Mézière, Diane; Barr, Dale J.; Rousselet, Guillaume A.; Ferguson, Heather; Busch-Moreno, Simon; Fu, Xiap; Tuomainen Eugenia Kulakova, Jyrki; Husband, E. Matthew; Donaldson, David I.; Kohút, Zdenko; Rueschemeyer, Shirley-Ann; Huettig, Falk
Large-scale replication study reveals a limit on probabilistic prediction in language comprehension
published pages: , ISSN: 2050-084X, DOI: 10.7554/eLife.33468.001
eLife , 7 , Article e33468. (2018) 1 2020-03-17
2018 Bradford, E.E.F., Hukker, V., Smith, L., & Ferguson, H.J.
Belief-Attribution in Adults with and without Autistic Spectrum Disorders
published pages: , ISSN: 1939-3806, DOI:
Autism Research 2020-03-17
2018 Heather J. Ferguson, Victoria E. A. Brunsdon, Elisabeth E. F. Bradford
Age of avatar modulates the altercentric bias in a visual perspective-taking task: ERP and behavioral evidence
published pages: , ISSN: 1530-7026, DOI: 10.3758/s13415-018-0641-1
Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience 2020-03-17

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