To what degree can ‘hot’ cognition also be categorised as social cognition and how can we assess this?

Answered by Philippe Fossati

‘Hot’ cognition is related to the processing of emotional signals. Among these signals, social stimuli are powerful triggers of emotion. Social processes refer to a set of cognitive and neural mechanisms involved in our ability to interact with others and navigate the social world, encompassing processes of face perception, self/other representation, theory of mind, social inclusion and motor resonance among others. The ‘social brain’ overlaps with the ‘emotional brain’ and includes a set of distributed cortical, subcortical and limbic regions (ie the amygdala, anterior cingulate, insula, basal ganglia, medial and lateral prefrontal cortices, and hippocampus). Social abilities can be assessed with several tasks such as the theory of mind task, identification of emotional faces and memory for words encoded in a self-referential mode, among others.

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