Silence, Solitude and Social Cognition in Adolescence: Implications for Research and Education

Sandra Bosacki



What are the key issues regarding silence, solitude, and social cognition in young people’s lives, and their implications for education and emotional health? To answer such questions, the current paper will explore the question: How do young teens use their ability to understand other’s minds and emotions to navigate their relationships with themselves, their peers, and during times of silences and solitude? To address this question, this paper critically examines how mentallisation may help youth to navigate their experiences of solitude and relationships. Examples from recent and ongoing cross-sectional and longitudinal research with adolescents are discussed within the context of education and developmental psychology research. Finally, I discuss how findings from developmental social cognitive research can be applied to the classroom, to help develop innovative strategies that honour, respect, and protect the silences in students’ lives and their private times spent in solitude.


social cognition; emotion; solitude; adolescents; education

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