Background: Research in nursing homes mainly focused on interventions for residents affected by cognitive decline. Few studies have considered healthy older adults living in nursing homes, and this research targeted cognitive functioning. Aims: To evaluate whether socio-cognitive abilities can be improved by means of a theory of mind (ToM) training conducted by nursing home’s operators. Methods: Results: Results revealed that older adults benefitted from the ToM intervention in both practiced and non-practiced tasks, while the control group showed no change from pre- to post-test evaluation. Analyses on errors scores indicated that the ToM intervention led to a reduction of both excessive mentalizing and absence of mental states inference. Discussion: The conversation-based ToM intervention proved to be effective in improving socio-cognitive skills in cognitively healthy nursing home residents. Notably, older adults were able to transfer the skills acquired during the training to new material. Conclusions: Promoting healthy resident’s ToM ability could positively impact on their social cognition, consequently increasing their quality of life. Our findings showed that the intervention can be feasibly managed by health care assistants within the residential context.
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