Validating a Multidimensional Measure of Social Cognition

This study will test the accuracy of a new assessment tool designed to measure changes in social skills. The assessment tool called Brief Assessment of Social Skills (BASS) is designed to help identify social skills changes in people with an acquired brain injury or a diagnosis of Schizophrenia.

Why is the project being done?

Humans are inherently social beings and the accurate perceptions of social stimuli is essential for social communication. To communicate effectively, we need to appreciate the meaning behind other people’s words, decipher the tones and inflections with which they are spoken, and interpret the speaker’s facial expressions and body language.

An increasing number of studies has shown that in some people with acquired neuropsychiatric, neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders these abilities are impaired. Despite this, these abilities are not routinely assessed clinically. With the development of this measure it is hoped that the BASS will be included in routine clinical assessment for these clinical groups. This will provide family and friends with information to better manage changes in social skills as they arise and guide treatment approaches.

To create a valid measure of social cognition, we must compare the abilities of people with and without an acquired brain injury or a diagnosis of Schizophrenia.

Who can participate?

Eligible participants will:

  • Female or male
  • Be aged between 30 and 65 years of age
  • Have adequate English to complete questionnaires
  • Have no history of head injury, neurodegenerative disorder (e.g. dementia), major mental psychiatric history (e.g. psychosis), alcohol/drug abuse, diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder
What will you be asked to do?

If you agree to participate, you will be asked to attend a study session at the University of Newcastle or Hunter Medical Research Institute which will take approximately 2 – 3 hours. You will be reimbursed for travel and parking expenses.

The overall assessment involves simple tasks such as looking at photos, cartoons and videos of people engaged in everyday tasks and answering questions about them.

We will also ask some brief questions about your education, culture, occupation, motivation and ability to describe emotions.

Register your interest

If you are interested in participating in the study or have any questions, please contact Kimberley Wallis ( or 02 4921 7048) or Dr Michelle Kelly ( or 02 4921 6838).

Click here to download Participant Information Statement