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We use a new model of metarepresentational development to predict a cognitive deficit which could explain a crucial component of the social impairment in childhood autism. One of the manifestations of a basic metarepresentational capacity is a ‘theory of mind’. We have reason to believe that autistic children lack such a ‘theory’. If this were so, then they would be unable to impute beliefs to others and to predict their behaviour. This hypothesis was tested using Wimmer and Perner's puppet play paradigm. Normal children and those with Down's syndrome were used as controls for a group of autistic children. Even though the mental age of the autistic children was higher than that of the controls, they alone failed to impute beliefs to others. Thus the dysfunction we have postulated and demonstrated is independent of mental retardation and specific to autism.RésuméLes auteurs présentent un nouveau mod`éle de développement méta-cognitif pour prédire le déficit cognitif qui rendrait compte d'un composant essentiel du handicap social de l'enfant autiste. Une des manifestations d'une capacité de base méta-cognitive est une ‘theorie de l'esprit'. Nous avons des raisons de croire que cette théorie fait defaut chez l'enfant autiste. Celui-ci serait done incapable d'attribuer des croyances aux autres ou de prédire leur comportement. Cette hypothèse a été testée avec le paradigme de jeu des marionettes utilisé par Wimmer et Perner. Des enfants normaux et des enfants avec trisomie 21 ont servi de groupe contrôle. Bien que Page mental des enfants autistes ait été plus élevé que deux du groupe contrôle, seuls les enfants autistes Wont pu attribuer aux autres des croyances. Ainsi le dysfonctionnement prévu a pu être démontre, il s'avère indépendant du retard mental et spécifique a l'autiste.
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Cognition, 21 (1985) 3746
Does the autistic child have a “theory of mind”?*
MRC Cognitive Development Unit, London
We use a new model of metarepresentational development to predict a cognitive
deficit which could explain a crucial component of the social impairment in
childhood autism. One of the manifestations of a basic metarepresentational ca-
pacity is a ‘theory of mind’. We have reason to believe that autistic children lack
such a ‘theory’. If this were so, then they would be unable to impute beliefs to
others and to predict their behaviour. This hypothesis was tested using Wimmer
and Perner’s puppet play paradigm. Normal children and those with Down’s
syndrome were used as controls for a group of autistic children. Even though
the mental age of the autistic children was higher than that of the controls, they
alone failed to impute beliefs to others. Thus the dysfunction we have postula-
ted and demonstrated is independent of mental retardation and specific to
1. Introduction
Childhood autism is a severe developmental disorder. It is a rare condition,
affecting about 4 in every 10,000 children. The diagnostic criteria at present are
behavioural (American Psychiatric Association, 1980; Kanner, 1943; Ritvo &
Freeman, 1978; Rutter, 1978) and the main symptom, which can be reliably
identified, is impairment in verbal and nonverbal communication. This
impairment is part of the core feature of childhood autism, namely a profound
disorder in understanding and coping with the social environment, regardless
*We are grateful to John Morton for his helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. We would also like
to thank staff and children of the various schools which participated in the study. The experiment was carried
out by Simon Baron-Cohen as part of his Ph.D thesis (Dept. Psychology, University of London). Reprint
requests should be addressed to: Uta Frith, MRC Cognitive Development Unit, 17 Gordon Street, London
WC1H OAH, United Kingdom.
0010-0277/85/$3.50 © Elsevier Sequoia/Printed in The Netherlands
38 S. Baron-Cohen et al.
of IQ. Additional symptoms can occur, in particular, mental retardation,
islets of ability, and ‘insistence on sameness’. Nevertheless, the pathognomonic
symptom is failure to develop normal social relationships.
Autistic children find even the immediate social environment unpredictable
and incomprehensible. They are often said in some sense to ‘treat people and
objects alike’. Wing and Gould (1979) in their epidemiological study of
severely retarded autistic children bring out the range of socially impaired
behaviour: from total withdrawal through passivity to repetitive pestering.
Lord’s (1984) review of work on peer interaction in autistic children highlights
the low level of social competence even in able autistic children, despite
improvements due to intervention. A picture of apparently intractable social
impairment emerges in the clinical follow-up studies of autism (e.g. Kanner,
1971; Kanner, Rodriguez, & Ashenden, 1972) and in the as yet rare experi-
mental investigations (e.g. Attwood, 1984; Martini, 1980).
Although the majority of autistic children are mentally retarded (DeMyer et
al., 1974; Wing, Yeates, Brierley, & Gould 1976), and although a number of
their symptoms may be attributable to this fact (Hermelin & O’Connor,
1970) this in itself cannot be a sufficient explanation for their social impair-
ments. First, there are autistic children with IQ’s in the normal range, and second,
mentally retarded non-autistic children, such as Down’s syndrome, are
socially competent relative to their mental age (Coggins, Carpenter, &
Owings, 1983; Gibson, 1978).
In order to explain the specific impairments of childhood autism it is necessary,
then, to consider the underlying cognitive mechanisms independent of IQ
(Frith, 1982; Hermelin & O’Connor, 1970; Rutter, 1983). So far, nobody has
had any idea of how to characterise such mechanisms in even quasi-com-
putational terms. In this paper we put forward a suggestion which has been
derived from a new model of metarepresentational development (Leslie,
1984, to appear). This model specifies a mechanism which underlies a crucial
aspect of social skills, namely being able to conceive of mental states: that is,
knowing that other people know, want, feel, or believe things; in short, having
what Premack and Woodruff (1978) termed a ‘theory of mind’. A theory of
mind is impossible without the capacity to form ‘second-order representations’
(Dennett, 1978; Pylyshyn, 1978). According to Leslie’s model this capacity does
not appear until the second year of life. While this capacity manifests itself
eventually in a theory of mind, Leslie shows that it also accounts for the
emergence of pretend play. An absence of the capacity to form second-order
representations, then, would lead not only to a lack of theory of mind, with the
concomitant aspects of social ineptness, but also to a lack of pretend play.
Now, it is well known that autistic children, in addition to their social hand-
icaps, also show a striking poverty of pretend play (Sigman & Ungerer, 1981;
Does the autistic child have a “theory of mind”? 39
Ungerer & Sigman, 1981; Wing, Gould, Yeates, & Brierley, 1977; Wing &
Gould, 1979). An explanation for the lack of pretend play and its curious as-
sociation with the social impairments typical of autism is not obvious, and
again the notion of mental age is not helpful for this purpose. On the one
hand, even high IQ autistic children lack pretend play, and on the other hand,
severely retarded Down’s syndrome children don’t (Hill & McCune-Nicolich,
1981). However, if we suppose that autistic children lack second-order rep-
resentations, then we can make sense of the association of impairments. In
order to test this hypothesis we can make the prediction that autistic children
will lack a theory of mind. It is of course possible for autistic children to have a
theory of mind and still exhibit incompetence, since social competence must
depend on a large number of factors. However, if our prediction was proved
wrong and autistic children did show evidence of employing a theory of mind,
then we could rule out a deficiency in second-order representations. Even if our
prediction was confirmed, that is, if autistic children lacked a theory of mind,
we would still have to establish that this was a specific deficit, that is, largely
independent of general mental retardation. Thus we would have to
demonstrate (a) that even those rare autistic children whose IQ’s are in the
average range should lack this ability and (b) that non-autistic but severely re-
tarded children, such as Down’s syndrome, should possess it.
In a seminal paper, Premack and Woodruff (1978) defined theory of mind
as the ability to impute mental states to oneself and to others. The ability to
make inferences about what other people believe to be the case in a given situ-
ation allows one to predict what they will do. This is clearly a crucial compo-
nent of social skills. There is growing evidence for the ability to attribute mental
states to others, and its development from the second year of life onwards
(Bretherton, McNew, & Beeghly-Smith, 1981; MacNamara, Baker, & Olson,
1976; Shantz, 1983; Shultz, Wells, & Sarda, 1980; Shultz & Cloghesy, 1981).
A convincing demonstration that an explicit theory of mind is well within the
capacity of the normal four-year-old has been given by Wimmer and Perner
(1983). These authors developed an ingenious paradigm that can be used with
very young children based on the case where the child’s own belief is different
from someone else’s belief. In order to succeed on the task the child has to be
aware that different people can have different beliefs about a situation. Hence
this case provides the strongest evidence for the capacity to conceive of men-
tal states (Dennett, 1978). It is this paradigm that we used in the present
40 S. Baron-Cohen et al.
2. Method
2.1 Subjects
Details of the subjects are shown in Table 1. The 20 autistic children had
been diagnosed according to established criteria (Rutter, 1978). In addition
there were 14 Down’s Syndrome and 27 clinically normal preschool children.
The autistic group’s mean mental age (MA) was not only higher than that of
the Down’s Syndrome group on a non-verbal scale, but also on the more
conservative measure of a verbal scale. We assumed that for the normal group
MA would roughly correspond to chronological age (CA). Therefore, their MA
was, if anything, lower than that of the handicapped groups. We selected a
high functioning subgroup of autistic children in order to enable a stringent test
of the specific deficit hypothesis to be made. Thus, the autistic group was of a
relatively high mean IQ of 82 (derived from non-verbal MA), mostly in the
average and borderline range, i.e. 70 to 108, with only one subject scoring
less than 70. The IQ’s of the Down’s Syndrome group were rather lower with
a range from 42 to 89, and an average of 64.
Table 1. Means, SDs and ranges of Chronological Age (CA) and Mental Age (MA)
in years; months
Diagnostic groups n
Autistic 20
9;3 5;5
SD 3;0 2;2 1;6
5;4-15;9 2;8-7;5
Down’s syndrome 14
SD 4;1
Range 6;3-17;0 4;9-8;6 1;8-4;0
Normal 27
4;5 _
SD 0;7
Range 3;5-5;9
*Leiter International Performance Scale.
**British Picture Vocabulary Test.
Does the autistic child have a “theory of mind”? 41
2.2 Procedure
The procedure is illustrated in Figure 1. There were two doll protagonists,
Sally and Anne. First, we checked that the children knew which doll was
which (Naming Question). Sally first placed a marble into her basket. Then
she left the scene, and the marble was transferred by Anne and hidden in her
box. Then, when Sally returned, the experimenter asked the critical Belief
Question: “Where will Sally look for her marble?”. If the children point to the
previous location of the marble, then they pass the Belief Question by
appreciating the doll’s now false belief. If however, they point to the marble’s
current location, then they fail the question by not taking into account the
doll’s belief. These conclusions are warranted if two control questions are
answered correctly: “Where is the marble really?” (Reality Question);
“Where was the marble in the beginning?” (Memory Question).
The control questions are crucial to ensure that the child has both know-
ledge of the real current location of the object and an accurate memory of
Figure 1. Experimental scenario.
42 S. Baron-Cohen et al.
the previous location. There is no reason to believe that the three questions
differ from each other in terms of psycholinguistic complexity, but of course
we hypothesize that they differ in terms of conceptual complexity. The standard
scenario was repeated using a new location for the marble, so that now there
were three different locations that the child could point at (basket, box and
experimenter’s pocket). Correct responses to all three Questions for each
of the two trials were therefore different.
3. Results
All subjects passed the Naming Question. Furthermore, all subjects without
a single exception performed without any errors for both the Reality and
Memory Questions in both trials. The Belief Question for both trials was
answered consistently by each child with the sole exception of one Down’s
Syndrome child who failed trial 1 and passed trial 2. The results for Down’s
Syndrome and normal subjects were strikingly similar. 23 out of 27 normal
children, and 12 out of 14 Down’s Syndrome children passed the Belief Ques-
tion on both trials (85% and 86% respectively). By contrast, 16 of the 20
autistic children (80%) failed the Belief Question on both trials. This differ-
ence between the groups was highly significant (χ2 = 25.9, df = 2, p < .001).
All 16 autistic children who failed pointed to where the marble really was,
rather than to any of the other possible locations (p = .006, Binomial Test,
one tailed). The four autistic children who passed succeeded on both trials.
Their CA ranged from 10:11 to 15:10, their non-verbal MAs were between
8:10 and 10:8, and their verbal MAs between 2:9 and 7:0. Comparison with
data in Table 1 shows that these children were fairly average on all our
available variables. There were certainly other children of equal or greater
MA and CA who gave incorrect responses.
4. Discussion
The fact that every single child taking part in the experiment correctly
answered the control questions allows us to conclude that they all knew (and
implicitly believed) that the marble was put somewhere else after Sally had
left. The critical question was, “Where will Sally look?” after she returns.
Here a group difference appeared: Autistic children answered this question
in a distinctly different way from the others. The Down’s Syndrome and
normal preschool children answered by pointing to where the marble was
put in the first place. Thus they must have appreciated that their own knowledge
Does the autistic child have a “theory of mind”? 43
of where the marble actually was and the knowledge that could be
attributed to the doll were different. That is, they predicted the doll’s
behaviour on the basis of the doll’s belief. The autistic group, on the other
hand, answered by pointing consistently to where the marble really was. They
did not merely point to a ‘wrong’ location, but rather to the actual
location of the marble. This becomes especially clear on trial 2 where the
autistic children never pointed to the box (which had been the ‘wrong’
location on trial 1), but instead to the experimenter’s pocket—that is, again to
where the marble really was. This rules out both a position preference and a
negativism explanation. Furthermore, the autistic children were not
‘contrary’ on the Reality or Memory Questions which they always answered
correctly. Clark and Rutter (1977, 1979) investigating alleged negativism in
autistic children also found no evidence of such behaviour. The failure on the
Belief Question was also not due to random pointing. Nor could it have been
due to any failure to understand and remember the demands of the task or
the narrative since these children all answered the Naming, Memory and
Reality Questions perfectly. We therefore conclude that the autistic children
did not appreciate the difference between their own and the doll’s knowledge.
Our results strongly support the hypothesis that autistic children as a group
fail to employ a theory of mind. We wish to explain this failure as an inability
to represent mental states. As a result of this the autistic subjects are unable
to impute beliefs to others and are thus at a grave disadvantage when having
to predict the behaviour of other people. There is, however, also a suggestion
of a small subgroup of autistic children who succeeded on the task and who
thus may be able to employ a theory of mind. These children who neverthe-
less, by definition (American Psychiatric Association, 1980; Rutter, 1978),
exhibit social impairment, would certainly deserve further study. From Les-
lie’s (1984) model we would predict that if they did have the capacity to form
second-order representations, then they would also show evidence of an ability
to pretend play. Furthermore, we would predict that their social impairments
would show a rather different pattern from those autistic children who fail to
use a theory of mind.
The ability we have been testing could be considered as kind of concep-
tual perspective-taking skill (Shantz, 1983). However, it is important to con-
trast the present task with traditional perceptual perspective-taking tasks,
such as ‘line of sight’ or ‘three mountains’, where a child has to indicate what
can be seen from another point of view (Hobson, 1982; Hughes & Donaldson,
1979; Piaget and Inhelder, 1956). Such perceptual perspective-taking tasks
can be solved using solely visuo-spatial skills and in no way require imputing
beliefs to others (Cox, 1980; Huttenlocher & Presson, 1979). Hobson (1984)
has recently shown that autistic children succeed on perceptual perspective-
44 S. Baron-Cohen et al.
taking tasks with doll protagonists as well as can be expected from their MA.
This finding, Hobson argued, suggests that it is very unlikely that the cogni-
tive abilities required in taking different points of view in perceptual situa-
tions are the same as those that underlie the autistic child’s social disability.
The results of the present study would confirm this interpretation and point
towards a crucial distinction between the understanding of perceptual situa-
tions and the attribution of higher order mental states.
We conclude that the failure shown by the autistic children in our experi-
ment constitutes a specific deficit. It cannot be attributed to the general ef-
fects of mental retardation, since the more severely retarded Down’s syn-
drome children performed close to ceiling on our task. Thus we have demon-
strated a cognitive deficit that is largely independent of general intellectual
level and has the potential to explain both lack of pretend play and social im-
pairment by virtue of a circumscribed cognitive failure. This finding encour-
ages us to continue with a theoretical framework (Leslie, 1984, to appear)
which can specify the underlying connections between pretend play, theory of
mind and social skills. Deriving further testable predictions from such a model
may lead to a new approach to the cognitive dysfunction in childhood autism
(Frith, 1984).
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Les auteurs presentent un nouveau modele de developpement meta-cognitif pour predire le deficit cognitif qui
rendrait compte d’un composant essentiel du handicap social de l’enfant autiste. Une des manifestations d’une
capacite de base meta-cognitive est une ‘theorie de l’esprit’. Nous avons des raisons de croire que cette theorie
fait defaut chez l’enfant autiste Celui-ci serait donc incapable d’attnbuer des croyances aux autres ou de predire
leur comportement. Cette hypothese a ete testee avec le paradigme de jeu des marionettes utilise par Wimmer et
Perner. Des enfants normaux et des enfants avec trisomie 21 ont servi de groupe controle Bien que l’age mental
des enfants autistes ait ete plus eleve que deux du groupe controle, seuls les enfants autistes n’ont pu attnbuer
aux autres des croyances. Ainsi le dysfonctionnement prevu a pu etre demontre, il s’avere independant du retard
mental et specifique a l’autiste
... ToM was proposed to predict a cognitive deficiency that can explain a significant number of social limitations in individuals with ASD ( Baron-Cohen et al., 1985). To explain the development of a ToM, researchers have proposed various theories [Simulation Theory (Gopnik & Wellman, 1992), Theory-Theory (Gopnik & Wellman, 1994), and Modular Theory (Scholl & Leslie, 1999)]. ...
... ToM refers to the awareness that another individual can have cognitive conditions, knowledge, and motivations that are different from those possessed by oneself. This allows the individual to communicate effectively in the social sense and interact with their environment (Baron-Cohen et al., 1985). Communication is a purpose, and individuals use language for this purpose. ...
... Lam and Yeung (2012) reported that although children with ASD showed high performance in language skills, they displayed shortcomings in terms of pragmatic language skills. Children with ASD have deficiencies in pragmatic and ToM skills (Baron-Cohen et al., 1985). Tager-Flusberg (2000) found a strong and significant relationship between ToM skills and the social usage of language. ...
Full-text available
Introduction: An outstanding research question is whether the interaction between theory of mind (ToM) and pragmatic language skills differs in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and typical development. This study investigated the relationship between ToM and pragmatics in individuals with ASD and children with typical development (CTD) and between these skills and Test of Language Development (TOLD-TR) scores which were determined as a participant criterion. Method: Sixteen individuals with ASD with TOLD-TR test equivalent age 7;0-8;11 and 46 CTD aged 6;0-8;11 were included. Child Form of Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET), Strange Stories Test, and Pragmatic Language Skills Inventory (PLSI) were used. Findings: PLSI and RMET scores as well as PLSI and Strange Stories scores did not significantly correlate in the ASD group. Nevertheless, in CTD, there were many weak-to-moderate level significant relationships between Strange Stories and PLSI subtest scores. In both groups, there were significant relationships between all TOLD-TR subtest scores and Strange Stories scores, except for TOLD-TR Syntactic Understanding in the ASD group. Numerous weak-to-strong correlations between TOLD-TR and PLSI scores as well as between TOLD-TR and ToM scores were found in the CTD group. In the ASD group, however, moderate-to-strong relationships between Strange Stories and the TODIL composite, between Sentence Comprehension and Morpheme Completion, and between RMET and Morpheme Completion. Discussion: It emerged that groups could have different patterns of interaction between these variables. The lack of correlation between ToM and pragmatics in ASD may be explained by the relatively small sample size and the fact that the norm group of the PLSI was largely composed of CTD. Additionally, the importance of sentence and syntax comprehension in ToM was revealed.
... Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis). Negli ultimi anni, le due ricercatrici, hanno dedicato la loro attività all'approfondimento dei training per studenti con Autismo ad Alto Funzionamento (Suarez et al., 2021, Welsh et al., 2018 classificando e scomponendo le sotto-abilità che rientrano all'interno della grande tematica della Theory of Mind (Baron-Cohen et al., 1985). Prerequisiti e applicabilità sono discussi all'interno dell'articolo insieme ad alcune proposte operative. ...
... Quando Sally torna nella stanza, ai partecipanti viene chiesto dove Sally cercherà la sua biglia. È stato riscontrato che i bambini con Autismo hanno prestazioni scarse sul Sally-Anne, con l'80% che afferma che Sally guarderebbe nella scatola al posto del cestino (Baron-Cohen et al., 1985). ...
È solo recentemente che il mondo analitico comportamentale sta approfondendo la ricerca sulla teoria della mente (Dhadwal et al., 2021, Dyrda et al., 2020), proponendo e implementando training sempre più com-plessi e molecolari. La letteratura offre materiale limitato sul tema (Lecheler et al., 2021) che risulta spesso essere poco fruibile a figure senza una pregressa formazione in Analisi del Comportamento Applicata (ABA). Il seguente elaborato ha il proposito di riassumere i più noti training attualmente disponibili in letteratura rendendoli accessibili anche a coloro che non possiedono una conoscenza approfondita in ABA. Il gruppo di lavoro ha selezionato gli studi di Adel Najdowski (PhD, BCBA-D) e Angela Persicke (MA, BCBA), attual-mente professoresse presso la Pepperdine University e con all'attivo più di 40 pubblicazioni e collaborazioni con giornali di riferimento nel campo dell'analisi del comportamento (ad es. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis). Negli ultimi anni, le due ricercatrici, hanno dedicato la loro attività all'approfondimento dei training per studenti con Autismo ad Alto Funzionamento (Suarez et al., 2021, Welsh et al., 2018, Najdowski et al., 2018) classificando e scomponendo le sotto-abilità che rientrano all'interno della grande tematica della Theory of Mind (Baron-Cohen et al., 1985). Prerequisiti e applicabilità sono discussi all'interno dell'articolo insieme ad alcune proposte operative. Parole chiave Teoria della mente, ABA, Autismo, Insegnamento in ambiente naturale (NET).
... Moreover, rational agents may receive partial data due to external constraints (e.g., missing visual data due to occlusion). Therefore, observed agents may hold false or inaccurate beliefs (c.f. the Sally-Anne experiment [52]), which is essential for ToM-based observer agents to recognize [53,18,54]. Furthermore, the same perceived data can be differently interpreted by different rational agents [34,55]. ...
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Interactive machines should establish and maintain meaningful social interactions with humans. Thus, they need to understand and predict the mental states and actions of humans. Based on Theory of Mind (ToM), in order to understand and interact with each other, humans develop cognitive models of one another. Our main goal is to provide a mathematical framework based on ToM to improve the understanding of interactive machines regarding the perception, cognition, and decision-making of humans. Most state-of-the-art models of behavioral theories based on machine learning are focused on input-output black-box representations. Thus, they lack transparency and generalizability, and exhaustive training procedures are needed to personalize them for various humans. Moreover, these models lack dynamics, i.e., they do not mathematically describe the evolution of the mental states and actions of humans in time. Following a systems-and-control-theoretic point-of-view, we represent for the first time the perception, cognition, and decision-making of humans via a dynamic, mathematical framework by introducing a novel formalization and an extension to Fuzzy Cognitive Maps (FCMs). The resulting models are given in a general state-space representation, which can be used by interactive machines within known model-based state estimation and control methods. In a case study, the resulting models were identified and validated for 21 participants, in scenarios where predicting the intentions and behavior of the participants required understanding the dynamics of their mental procedures. The results of these experiments show that our model is capable of incorporating the dynamics to estimate the intentions and predict the behavior of the participants, with an accuracy of, respectively, 81.55% and 66.06%. Moreover, we compared our model with a state-of-the-art formalization of human cognition, which was made dynamic using our introduced FCM framework. Our model, which in addition to the elements of the state-of-the-art model included emotions, personality traits, and biases (thus providing a more transparent insight about the mental procedures of the participants) showed 6.25% and 2.45% more accuracy in, respectively, estimating the intentions and predicting the behavior of the participants.
... For example, we will often need to represent another's mental state when we want to understand or predict their behaviour, an ability often referred to as Theory of Mind (ToM: Premack & Woodruff, 1978). In the classic false belief task (Baron- Cohen, Leslie, & Frith, 1985;Wimmer & Perner, 1983), an agent (e.g. 'Sally') hides an object in one location only for another person to move the object to a different location without her knowledge. ...
The ability to attribute mental states to others has sometimes been attributed to a domain-specific mechanism which privileges the processing of these states over similar but non-mental representations. If correct, then others’ beliefs should be processed more efficiently than similar information contained within non-mental states. We tested this by examining whether adults would be faster to process others' false beliefs than equivalent 'false' photos. Additionally, we tested whether they would be faster to process others' true beliefs about something than their own (matched) personal knowledge about the same event. Across four experiments we found a small but reliable effect in favour of the first prediction, but no evidence for the second. Results are consistent with accounts positing specialised processes for (false) mental states. The size of the effect does however suggest that alternative explanations such as practice effects cannot be ruled out.
... Nuestra hipótesis sobre el autismo como déficit de consonancia intencional va en una dirección del todo opuesta a muchas de las ideas aún prevalentes en este campo. Una de las teorías más acreditadas -aún con varias y sucesivas articulaciones, no siempre coherentes -sostiene que el autismo deriva de un déficit en los módulos de la teoría de la mente específicamente seleccionados durante la evolución (Baron-Cohen, Leslie y Frith, 1985;Baron-Cohen, 1988. Esta tesis del autismo como déficit de la teoría de la mente, o sea como incapacidad de crear meta-representaciones de la mente ajena, es difícilmente conciliable con lo que han sostenido algunos autistas de alto funcionamiento o afectados por la síndrome de Asperger, como Temple Grandin (1995), que para hacerse una idea de qué significa el mundo de los demás tenían que construir "teorías" sobre este mundo. ...
This article presents edited highlights from a special session at the BNA International Festival of Neuroscience held in Brighton in April 2023. The session involved Desert Island Disc–style interviews between early career researchers and established investigators, discussing papers that influenced their neuroscience careers.
Most of the chapters in this book take for granted the definition of infantile autism and the criteria to be used in its diagnosis. That is right and proper, but the questions of definition and diagnosis have given rise to such controversy over the years that it is necessary to set the scene for what follows by some discussion of the issues involved.
Two experiments were conducted on the child's developing ability to distinguish intended actions from mistakes, reflexes, and passive movements. Such distinctions were successfully made by 3–5 years of age, regardless of whether children were judging their own or another's familiar or unfamiliar behaviour. Responses to causal questions indicated that children as young as 3 years attributed behaviours to intentional states in accordance with the scheme for multiple sufficient causes.
To what extent is the concept of ‘childhood egocentrism’ valid? Piaget presents an account in which a child's ability to appreciate different points of view is intimately related to his capacity for operational thought. To examine this hypothesis, children aged from 3 to 7 years were presented with tasks requiring the co-ordination of visuo-spatial perspectives, and tests of operational thinking. Subjects in the pre-operational stage demonstrated an ability to co-ordinate viewpoints, but found certain forms of visuo-spatial problem relatively difficult. The significance of this for the concept of egocentrism and the analysis of role-taking is considered.
24 Ss (aged 3–9 yrs) played a card game against an adult opponent that required strategic actions indicating recursive awareness of intention. Behavioral measures of success indicated that recursive strategies were used by Ss aged 5 yrs and older but not by 3-yr-olds. Verbal indicators of recursion showed a developmental lag relative to the behavioral measures. Ss appeared to be better at retaliating against deceptive strategies than at initiating them. First-level awareness of the opponent's visual processes appeared at younger ages than did recursive awareness of intention. (20 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)