The Social Context Network Model in Psychiatric and Neurological Diseases

  • Sandra BaezEmail author
  • Adolfo M. García
  • Agustín IbanezEmail author
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 30)


The role of contextual modulations has been extensively studied in basic sensory and cognitive processes. However, little is known about their impact on social cognition, let alone their disruption in disorders compromising such a domain. In this chapter, we flesh out the social context network model (SCNM), a neuroscientific proposal devised to address the issue. In SCNM terms, social context effects rely on a fronto-temporo-insular network in charge of (a) updating context cues to make predictions, (b) consolidating context–target associative learning, and (c) coordinating internal and external milieus. First, we characterize various social cognition domains as context-dependent phenomena. Then, we review behavioral and neural evidence of social context impairments in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), highlighting their relation with key SCNM hubs. Next, we show that other psychiatric and neurological conditions involve context-processing impairments following damage to the brain regions included in the model. Finally, we call for an ecological approach to social cognition assessment, moving beyond widespread abstract and decontextualized methods.


Social cognition The social context network model Psychatric disorders Neurological disorders Context processing 



This work was partially supported by grants from CONICET, CONICYT/FONDECYT Regular (1,130,920), FONCyT-PICT 2012-0412, 2012-1309, and the INECO Foundation FONDAP 15150012.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Experimental Psychology and Neuroscience (LPEN), Institute of Translational and Cognitive Neuroscience (INCyT), INECO FoundationFavaloro UniversityBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET)Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.UDP-INECO Foundation Core on Neuroscience (UIFCoN)Diego Portales UniversitySantiagoChile
  4. 4.Faculty of Elementary and Special Education (FEEyE)National University of Cuyo (UNCuyo)MendozaArgentina
  5. 5.Institute of Translational and Cognitive Neuroscience (INCyT), INECO FoundationFavaloro UniversityBuenos AiresArgentina
  6. 6.Universidad Autónoma Del CaribeBarranquillaColombia
  7. 7.Laboratory of NeuroscienceAdolfo Ibáñez UniversitySantiagoChile
  8. 8.Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Cognition and Its DisordersSydneyAustralia
  9. 9.Grupo de Investigación Cerebro Y Cognición SocialBogotáColombia

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