Program of Theory of Mind Training in Old Age



Due to the problem of growth of neurodegenerative and affective disorders in elderly and senile age interest in the study of theory of mind elusive growing. The purpose of this article is to introduce the «theory of mind» concept as a mechanism which allows an elderly person to be more effective in interpersonal relationships and social interactions. Successful social interactions are one of the components of «successful aging» and contribute to the enrichment and redistribution of physical and mental resources. The article describes the predictors that influence the mental model in old age. Described socio-emotional selectivity theory, which allows to understand the characteristics of social interaction in later ages. Article provides an overview of the Italian training program under the guidance of S. Lecce for the theory of mind development in elderly and senile age.

General Information

Keywords: theory of mind, elderly, senile age, social cognition, subjective well-being, social interaction

Journal rubric: Methods and Techniques

For citation: Melehin A. Program of Theory of Mind Training in Old Age [Elektronnyi resurs]. Klinicheskaia i spetsial'naia psikhologiia = Clinical Psychology and Special Education, 2015. Vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 110–123. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Cergienko E.A., Lebedeva E.I., Prusakova O.A. Model' psihicheskogo kak osnova stanovleniya ponimaniya sebya i drugogo v ontogeneze cheloveka. — M.: Izd-vo «Institut psihologii RAN», 2009. 415 s.
  2. Sergienko E.A. Model' psihicheskogo kak paradigma poznaniya social'nogo mira // Psihologicheskie issledovaniya. 2014. T. 36. № 7.
  3. Melehin A.I. Psihologicheskie modeli uspeshnogo stareniya (obzor zarubejnyh issledovanii) // Psihologicheskii jurnal Mejdunarodnogo universiteta prirody, obschestva i cheloveka «Dubna». 2014. № 2. s. 44-61.
  4. Bechi M., et al. Theory of mind and emotion processing training for patients with schizophrenia: preliminary findings // Psychiatry Res. 2012. Vol. 198. №. 3. pp. 371-7.
  5. Carstensen L.L. Socioemotional Selectivity Theory and the Regulation of Emotion in the Second Half of Life // Motivation and Emotion. 2003. Vol. 27. pp 103-123.
  6. Savallini E. Beyond false belief: theory of mind in young, young-old, and old-old adults // Int’l. j. Aging and human development. 2013. vol. 76. № 3. pp. 181-198.
  7. Ganguli M. et al. Classification of neurocognitive disorders in DSM-5: a work in progress // Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2011. Vol.19. № 3. pp.205-210.
  8. Henry J.D. et al. A meta-analytic review of age differences in theory of mind. // Psychology and Aging. 2013. Vol. 28. pp.826–839.
  9. Lecce S. et al. Training older adults on Theory of Mind: Transfer on metamemory// Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. 2014. Vol. 60. pp. 217-226.
  10. Lecce S. et al. Training preschoolers on first- order false belief understanding: Transfer on advanced ToM skills and metamemory. // Child Development. 2014. Vol. 85. № 6. pp. 2404-2418.
  11. Mahy E.V., Vetter N. The influence of inhibitory processes on affective theory of mind in young and old adults // Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition. 2014. Vol. 21, №. 2, pp. 129–145.
  12. Active Ageing and Healthy Living A Human Centered Approach in Research and Innovation as Source of Quality of Life// ed. G. Riva, P. Marsan.  Studies in Health Technology and Informatics. 2014.  220 p.
  13. Slessor G., Phillips L.H. Exploring the specificity of age-related differences in theory of mind tasks // Psychol Aging. 2007. Vol. 22. № 3. pp.639-643.
  14. Smith Anderson-Bill E., Winett R.A. Aging and the Social Cognitive Determinants of Physical Activity Behavior and Behavior Change: Evidence from the Guide to Health Trial // Journal of Aging Research. 2012. Vol. 67. № 1. pp.18–26.
  15. Stern Y. Cognitive reserve // Neuropsychologia. 2009. Vol. 47. pp. 2015–2028.
  16. Wang, Zhiwen. Age-related differences in the performance of theory of mind in older adults: A dissociation of cognitive and affective components // Psychology and Aging. 2013. Vol 28. № 1. pp. 284-291.

Information About the Authors

Aleksey Melehin, PhD in Psychology, Associate professor, Stolypin Humanitarian Institute, clinical psychologist of the highest qualification category, somnologist, cognitive behavioral psychotherapist, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 2837
Previous month: 7
Current month: 1


Total: 1913
Previous month: 4
Current month: 0