How does cognition shape social relationships?

Wascher, Claudia A. F., Kulahci, Ipek G., Langley, Ellis J. G. and Shaw, Rachael C. (2018) How does cognition shape social relationships? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 373 (1756). ISSN 1471-2970

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The requirements of living in social groups, and forming and maintaining social relationships, are hypothesized to be one of the major drivers behind the evolution of cognitive abilities. Most empirical studies investigating the relationships between sociality and cognition compare cognitive performance between species living in systems that differ in social complexity. In this review, we ask whether and how individuals benefit from cognitive skills in their social interactions. Cognitive abilities, such as perception, attention, learning, memory, and inhibitory control aid in forming and maintaining social relationships. We investigate whether there is evidence that individual variation in these abilities influences individual variation in social relationships. We then consider the evolutionary consequences of the interaction between sociality and cognitive ability to address whether bi-directional relationships exist between the two, such that cognition can both shape and be shaped by social interactions and the social environment. In doing so, we suggest that social network analysis is emerging as a powerful tool that can be used to test for directional causal relationships between sociality and cognition. Overall, our review highlights the importance of investigating individual variation in cognition to understand how it shapes the patterns of social relationships.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Theme issue ‘Causes and consequences of individual differences in cognitive abilities’
Keywords: cognition, individual differences, relationship intelligence hypothesis
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Claudia Wascher
Date Deposited: 02 May 2018 15:22
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:56

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