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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    • "Four very recent studies have supported and extended this finding. Lerner et al. (2011) found that ToM ability was negatively correlated with ASD symptoms and social impairments and that fewer ASD symptoms significantly predicted higher ToM scores. Ames and White (2011) investigated the relation between ADHD-related behaviours in a sample of children with ASD and behavioural and cognitive impairments. "
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    ABSTRACT: Autism spectrum disorders are defined by difficulties across a range of areas: social and communication difficulties and restricted and repetitive behaviours and interests. It has been suggested that this triad of symptoms cannot be explained by a single cause at the genetic, neural or cognitive level. This article reviews the evidence for a 'fractionable' autism triad at the cognitive level, highlighting questions for future research.
    Autism 10/2013; 18(1). DOI:10.1177/1362361313499456 · 3.50 Impact Factor
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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.
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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.
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