Objectives: The current study explores whether personal social network characteristics are associated with older adults' memory and/or social cognitive function (e.g., ability to infer other's mental states-theory of mind).
Method: 120 older adults completed a social network interview, a memory measure, and 2 core measures of social cognitive functions: emotion recognition and theory of mind.
Results: Variation in memory and social cognitive abilities predicted distinct aspects of older adults' social networks. Having better memory predicted having larger, less-dense social networks, but better theory of mind was associated with having at least one acquaintance in the network, and having more heterogeneous social relationships within the network.
Discussion: Together our findings suggest that disparate social cognitive abilities may serve unique functions, facilitating maintenance of beneficial social connections.
Keywords: Older adults; Social cognitive function; Social networks; Theory of mind.
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.