Westport Day School

Social Cognition

“Social thinking is the ability to consider your own and others' thoughts, emotions, beliefs, intentions, knowledge, etc., to help interpret and respond to the information in your mind and possibly through your social behavioral interactions” (Garcia-Winner, 2013). This construct refers to social cognition and impacts students with learning disabilities, social skills deficits, students who have difficulty taking another’s perspective, and students with social anxiety we well as depression. At WDS, a social cognitive model is infused throughout the day and embedded in academic classrooms.

People “Inhabit our social world- how we understand their qualities, make inferences about their traits and characteristics, form judgments about the pressures of situations they are in, predict what they are likely to do, and decide how we are to act in return” (Moskowitz, 2005).

We break down difficult social situations in the moment, walk-through problem solving scenarios, and do so with empathy and without judgment using Rick Lavoie’s method of Social Autopsies (2013). Our goal is for our students is to learn to recognize “Cause/effect relationship between his social behavior and the reactions of others in his environment” (Lavoie, 2013)


Moskowitz, G. B. (2005). Social cognition: Understanding self and others. New York: Guilford Press.