Brief Report: Preliminary Evaluation of the Theory of Mind Inventory and its Relationship to Measures of Social Skills

Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4400, USA.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.06). 04/2011; 41(4):512-7. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-010-1066-z
Source: PubMed


This study presents updated information on a parent-report measure of Theory of Mind (ToM), formerly called the Perception of Children's Theory of Mind Measure (Hutchins et al., J Autism Dev Disord 38:143-155, 2008), renamed the Theory of Mind Inventory (ToMI), for use with parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study examines the responses of parents of adolescents with ASDs and explores the relationship of parental responses on the ToMI to measures of autistic symptoms and social skills. Descriptive statistics were compared to previous samples; correlations and regressions were conducted to examine the ToMI's criterion-related validity with social skills and ASD symptoms. Results support use of the ToMI with adolescent samples and its relationship to social impairments in ASDs.

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Available from: Matthew D Lerner, Apr 15, 2014
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    • "Most studies on the social cognitions of children with ASDs have focused on their ToM deficiencies, primarily their difficulties in understanding and evaluating correctly the thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and beliefs of others. These difficulties have been found to be related to abnormal social behaviors, inadequate social communication skills, and poor symbolic abilities (Heavey et al. 2000; Lerner et al. 2011). Baron-Cohen (1987, 1995) described autism as a state of ''Mindblindness'': just as a blind child cannot see her physical surroundings, so too the autistic child is ''blind'' to other people's internal states and consciousness . "
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    ABSTRACT: The social cognitive deficiencies of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are well documented. However, the mechanisms underlying these deficiencies are unclear. Therefore, we examined the social information processing (SIP) patterns and social behaviors of 25 preschool children with ASDs in comparison to a matched group of 25 typically developing children. We found children with ASDs to be less likely than typically developing children to efficiently encode social information, to positively construct and evaluate competent responses, and to exhibit prosocial behaviors. They were also more likely than typically developing children to attribute hostile intentions to others in benign social situations, to construct and evaluate more positively aggressive responses, to construct more avoidant responses, and to display more externalizing behaviors. Interestingly, counterintuitive patterns of relationships were found within the ASD group with more competent SIP and theory of mind (ToM) patterns relating to less competent social behaviors. Finally, within the ASD group, more competent SIP patterns were found to be significantly related to higher ToM capacities.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 09/2013; · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two studies examined the psychometric properties of the Theory of Mind Inventory (ToMI). In Study One, 135 caregivers completed the ToMI for children (ages 3 through 17) with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Findings revealed excellent test-retest reliability and internal consistency. Principle Components Analysis revealed three subscales related to the complexity of ToM understanding. In Study Two, data were collected for 124 typically developing children (2 through 12 years). Findings again revealed excellent test-retest and internal consistency. The ToMI distinguished groups by age (younger vs. older children) and developmental status (typically developing vs. ASD), and predicted child performance on a ToM task battery. Utility of the ToMI, study limitations and directions for future research are discussed.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 04/2011; 42(3):327-41. DOI:10.1007/s10803-011-1244-7 · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often lack the ability to recognize and properly respond to emotional stimuli. Emotional deficits also characterize children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), in addition to exhibiting limited attention span. These abnormalities may effect a difference in the induced EEG gamma wave burst (35-45 Hz) peaked approximately 300-400 milliseconds following an emotional stimulus. Because induced gamma oscillations are not fixed at a definite point in time post-stimulus, analysis of averaged EEG data with traditional methods may result in an attenuated gamma burst power. METHODS: We used a data alignment technique to improve the averaged data, making it a better representation of the individual induced EEG gamma oscillations. A study was designed to test the response of a subject to emotional stimuli, presented in the form of emotional facial expression images. In a four part experiment, the subjects were instructed to identify gender in the first two blocks of the test, followed by differentiating between basic emotions in the final two blocks (i.e. anger vs. disgust). EEG data was collected from ASD (n=10), ADHD (n=9), and control (n=11) subjects via a 128 channel EGI system, and processed through a continuous wavelet transform and bandpass filter to isolate the gamma frequencies. A custom MATLAB code was used to align the data from individual trials between 200-600 ms post-stimulus, EEG site, and condition by maximizing the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient between trials. The gamma power for the 400 ms window of maximum induced gamma burst was then calculated and compared between subject groups. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Condition (anger/disgust recognition, gender recognition) × Alignment × Group (ADHD, ASD, Controls) interaction was significant at most of parietal topographies (e.g., P3-P4, P7-P8). These interactions were better manifested in the aligned data set. Our results show that alignment of the induced gamma oscillations improves sensitivity of this measure in differentiation of EEG responses to emotional facial stimuli in ADHD and ASD.
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