Social cognition and functioning in Alzheimer's dementia

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Social cognition and functioning in Alzheimer's dementia



  • Contact name

    Andrew Sommerlad

  • Contact email


  • Sponsor organisation

    UCLH/UCL Joint Research Office

  • Identifier

    Z6364106/2023/02/10 health research, UCL Data Protection Registration Number

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    2 years, 11 months, 30 days

  • Research summary

    Research Question
    Is impairment in theory of mind associated with decline in social functioning in people with mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD)?

    Impaired social functioning is a core feature of dementia and declines progressively through the disease course, but we do not currently understand the specific causes of this decline and have no effective treatments for social functioning. Social cognitive impairment, particularly impaired theory of mind (meaning inability to understand that other people have other thoughts and conceptualise what those thoughts might be), is a likely major cause of this decline and, if this is established, it could be a target for future interventions which aim to maintain social cognition.

    1. To test whether theory of mind deficits, or those in other social cognitive domains, are associated with current and subsequent level of social behaviour and functioning in Alzheimer’s disease.
    2. To establish the reliability and validity of novel approaches to the measurement of social behaviour and function in Alzheimer’s disease

    We will construct a new observational cohort study (SOCIAL study) of 207 people with mild Alzheimer’s disease and 207 family/friend informants recruited from NHS memory clinics and other sources. At baseline, we will assess social cognition using a detailed neuropsychological battery and will assess social functioning. At 4 and 8 months, participants will remotely rate their social functioning using a questionnaire and the full battery of testing will be repeated at 1 year follow-up. In a remote monitoring sub-study (SOCIAL-RM), up to 50 consenting participants with a mobile phone will have remote digital monitoring using a mobile phone application throughout the study duration. In a further behavioural observation sub-study (SOCIAL-BO), up to 50 consenting participants will have social behaviour assessed during a video-recorded semi-structured social interaction at baseline and 1 year follow-up.

  • REC name

    Wales REC 6

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    2 Jun 2023

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion