Article

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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