Social and pragmatic deficits in autism: cognitive or affective?

University College, London.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.34). 10/1988; 18(3):379-402. DOI: 10.1007/BF02212194
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Autism is characterized by a chronic, severe impairment in social relations. Recent studies of language in autism also show pervasive deficits in pragmatics. We assume, uncontroversially, that these two deficits are linked, since pragmatics is part of social competence. This paper reviews the literature describing these deficits, and then considers two different psychological theories of these phenomena: the Affective theory and the Cognitive theory. Although the Affective theory makes better sense of the results from emotional recognition tasks, the Cognitive theory predicts the particular pattern of impaired and unimpaired social skills in autism, as well as the pragmatic deficits. These two theories might usefully be integrated in the future.

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    • "Our study, thereby, constitutes the first attempt at examining intentional and spontaneous visuospatial perspective taking in individuals with HFA within the same task. According to the literature, we expect participants with HFA to have no difficulties with intentional visuospatial level 1 perspective taking (Baron-Cohen, 1989; David et al., 2010; Hobson, 1984; Leekam et al., 1997; Leslie & Frith, 1988; Reed & Peterson, 1990). On the contrary, we expect to find evidence for impairments of spontaneous perspective taking consistent with findings that indicate difficulties with implicit belief reasoning (Senju et al., 2010, 2009) and an absence of the spontaneous integration of directional gaze cues provided in a stimulus–response compatibility paradigm (Schilbach et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: The ability of perspective taking is a fundamental aspect of social cognition. The ability to decide, what another person can or cannot see is referred to as "level 1 perspective taking." This is thought to be a process that we can make use of intentionally, but which also takes place spontaneously. Autism is characterized by impairments of social interaction, which are thought to be related to deficits in implicit rather than explicit perspective taking. In order to assess both levels of processing with regard to perspective taking, we employed an established task in patients and controls. Our results demonstrate that both groups engage in spontaneous level 1 perspective taking. In contrast to controls, however, patients reacted more slowly if they had to verify the other’s as compared to their own perspective, which shows that participants with high-functioning autism have selective difficulties in explicit, but not implicit, level 1 perspective taking. These findings demonstrate that while spontaneous level 1 perspective taking appears to be intact in autism, this ability is impaired in patients when used explicitly.
    Cognition 02/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.cognition.2014.02.003 · 3.63 Impact Factor
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    • "The ability to recognize false beliefs to oneself and others, which is normally acquired at around age 4, is considered a particularly important development in theory of mind in that it indicates the emergence of a representational concept of mind, whereby children implicitly understand that mental states are subjective representations of the world that are independent of and not necessarily congruent with reality [7] [8] [9]. From the advantage point of the theory of mind hypothesis, an impaired ability to represent mental states, and the limited awareness of oneself and other people that this implies, it gives a compelling elucidation for the failures in communication and reciprocal social interaction that characterize autism [10] [11] [12]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Autism is a pervasive neurodevelopment disorder, primarily encompassing difficulties in the social, language, and communicative domains. One of the most common social cognitive theories of autism is based on theory of mind (ToM), the "mentalizing" ability needed to infer that others have their own beliefs and desires in order to understand their behavior. In the current study, this hypothesis was tested using Wellman and Liu's scaled ToM tasks. These were employed in the assessment of ToM development of verbal, school-aged high-functioning boys with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The results indicated that children with ASD performed significantly worse than normal children on ToM tasks (Z = 4.7; P < 0 .001). However, it was shown that some of the ASD children were able to pass desire and false-belief tasks whereas none of them could succeed in knowledge and real-apparent emotion tasks.
    12/2012; 2012:637453. DOI:10.5402/2012/637453
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    • "Atypical prosody, a commonly reported symptom in ASD, is intertwined with impaired social reciprocity. In particular, Theory of Mind purports people with autism have a compromised ability to gauge the mental state of another person [3]– such a deficit will lead to impairments in receptive and expressive prosodic skills (which are correlated [4]), in addition to other knowledge of successful social interaction. Other theories implicate impaired speech planning and motor systems [5]. "
    Proceedings of InterSpeech; 09/2012
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