About this Research Topic
Interacting in an adapted way with an environment in perpetual change, holding conversations rich in implicit messages, and engaging in interpersonal relationships are all typical everyday situations requiring complex skills, collectively referred to as social cognition. Social cognition encompasses several domains: theory of mind, recognition of facial emotions, empathy, emotional regulation, and attributional style. These skills are altered in patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) causing a serious social impairment. Therefore, interventions are needed to remediate these social cognition deficits.
Recent studies have begun to elucidate the factors that shape social cognition development as specific neural structures, genes, neurotransmitter systems and early social experiences. Some integrated models are emerging to explain deficits in social cognition during human development. Since the late 1980s, to better understand the areas affected in ASD, many tools of assessment of social cognition domains were created and adapted to cultural characteristics by research teams. Since the discovery of theory of mind deficits in patients with ASD, social cognition has been a crucial therapeutic target for this population. However, recent technological advances have revolutionized the suite of available therapies that ameliorate specific social cognition deficits. Interventions are now available ranging from those utilizing behavioral approaches, pharmacotherapy (mainly with oxytocin), and social rehabilitation through social cognition training using virtual reality.
The goal of this Research Topic is to improve our understanding of how social cognition deficits alter the quality of life of children suffering from ASD and to highlight interventions that target generalizable skills to help people with ASD adapt better and more durably to social situations. Furthermore, given the intercultural differences in the development of social skills, cultural viewpoints in social cognition research are essential in clarifying the socio-cultural factors underpinning social skills as well.
Therefore, the current Research Topic welcomes submissions of articles with the primary aim of providing further insight into the advances of social cognition assessment and intervention for ASD. We welcome empirical and theoretical papers. Relevant subtopics include (a) assessments considering cultural and environmental aspects of social cognition in ASD (b) the links between social cognition and social impairment in ASD (c) contribution of new technologies in therapeutic intervention in social cognition and social impairment.
The Guest Topic Editors would like to acknowledge the contribution made by Dr. Olfa Rajhi in coordinating the launch of this Research Topic.
Keywords: Autism, Social Cognition, Cultural Aspects, Assessment, Intervention
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