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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”?*
SIMON BARON-COHEN
ALAN M. LESLIE
UTA FRITH
MRC Cognitive Development Unit, London
Abstract
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
autism.
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
2
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
study.
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
CA
Nonverbal*
MA
Verbal**
MA
Autistic 20
Mean
11;11
9;3 5;5
SD 3;0 2;2 1;6
Range
6;1-16;6
5;4-15;9 2;8-7;5
Down’s syndrome 14
Mean
10;11
5;11
2;11
SD 4;1
0;11
0;7
Range 6;3-17;0 4;9-8;6 1;8-4;0
Normal 27
Mean
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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Resume
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
... Compte tenu de notre formalisation, nous avons implémenté notre modèle dans la plateforme PsychSim [Marsella et al., 2004]. PsychSim permet en effet de représenter les buts et les croyances d'un agent, et ses mécanismes de prise de décision s'appuient sur la théorie de l'esprit [Baron-Cohen et al., 1985]. La théorie de l'esprit permet aux agents d'avoir des représentations mentales des buts et croyances des autres agents présents dans l'interaction. ...
... Connaître l'attitude sociale de notre interlocuteur permet en effet de faciliter notre prise de décision lors de situations interpersonnelles [Fazio and Olson, 2007]. Le mécanisme sous-jacent à l'interprétation des signaux sociaux s'appelle la théorie de l'esprit [Baron-Cohen et al., 1985]. Cette théorie désigne les différents processus permettant à un individu d'inférer les buts, les croyances et les intentions de son interlocuteur. ...
... Les buts sociaux sont liés à la théorie de l'esprit [Baron-Cohen et al., 1985] et représentent l'attitude sociale qu'un agent i souhaiterait voir exprimée par son interlocuteur j. Par exemple, i aimerait que j exprime de la dominance et de l'amicalité envers lui. ...
Thesis
Afin d’être considérés comme des partenaires crédibles lors d’une interaction, les agents virtuels doivent transmettre une attitude sociale adéquate. Cette attitude sociale exprimée par l’agent doit refléter la situation dans laquelle il se trouve. L’agent doit donc prendre en compte son rôle et sa relation sociale vis à vis de son interlocuteur lorsqu’il choisit comment réagir au cours de l’interaction. Afin de construire un tel agent capable de raisonner en fonction de son rôle et de sa relation, et capable d’adapter son attitude sociale, nous avons construit un modèle de prise de décision sociale. Dans un premier temps, nous formalisons la dynamique de la relation sociale à travers une combinaison de buts et de croyances. Puis, nous définissons un modèle de prise de décision basé sur les buts sociaux et situationnels de l’agent. Pour finir, nous avons réalisé une étude perceptive dans un contexte d’interaction tuteur/enfant virtuels au cours de laquelle les participants évaluaient l’attitude sociale du tuteur envers l’enfant. La relation sociale et le rôle social du tuteur étaient manipulés par notre modèle. Les résultats montrent qu’à la fois le rôle et la relation du tuteur ont une influence sur son attitude sociale perçue.
... [ Baron-Cohen et al., 1985, Baron-Cohen et al., 1986, Frith and Happé, 1999). ...
... The second prediction can be directly studied in the context of Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC)-a neurodevelopmental condition that is, in part, characterised by nonverbal and verbal communicative problems, untypical socioemotional reciprocity [American Psychiatric Association, 2013] and mentalizing difficulties [Baron-Cohen et al., 1985]. If the mentalizing-is-prior view is correct, difficulties with understanding other people's thoughts and social communication (as is typical in autism), should also affect the development of metacognition in this condition. ...
... Autism spectrum condition (ASC) is a neurodevelopmental condition that is, in part, characterised by social communication difficulties, repetitive behaviours and/or restricted interests [American Psychological Association, 2013]. Autistic people (or 'people on the autism spectrum'; [Kenny et al., 2016]) were coined to suffer from general 'mindblindness' in 1985 [ Baron-Cohen et al., 1985, Baron-Cohen et al., 1986, Happé, 1994, Happé, 2003], but, since then, only a handful of studies have extended the study of mentalizing in autism to that of metacognitive efficiency about one's own behaviour and mental states [Carpenter et al., 2019b, Grainger et al., 2016a, Nicholson et al., 2019, Nicholson et al., 2020, Williams et al., 2018, Wojcik et al., 2013. Some of these studies [Grainger et al., 2016a, Nicholson et al., 2020, Williams et al., 2018 but not others [Carpenter et al., 2019b, Wojcik et al., 2013, found that mentalizing and metacognitive efficiency were commensurately compromised in ASC. ...
Thesis
Explicit metacognition is a hallmark of human consciousness. Its central role in the exchange of knowledge within social groups suggests that it may be shaped by social interactions. But whether, and how, social interactions may exert an effect on metacognition remains unknown. The experiments conducted in my PhD exemplify each in their own way how metacognitive ability is related to the ability to understand other people’s minds (mentalizing). Chapter Two and Three show that people with compromised mentalizing ability are also more likely to have metacognitive difficulties. Contrary to the common belief that people have privileged access to their own mental states, I found that people infer their mental states indirectly from their behaviour––similar to how they infer the mental states of others. Correspondingly, people who are unable make such inferences about others (as is the case in Autism Spectrum Condition or ASC) also tend to have difficulties with doing so about themselves. Chapter Four and Five show that cultural differences in collaboration and interaction affect metacognitive ability. Across two studies, I found that Chinese students had better awareness of their own and others’ mental states than occupation, age, income, gender and performance matched English students. This enhanced ability to process new evidence and correct errors generalized to how the different populations processed new social advice. Together, this work suggest that metacognition is deeply rooted in social interaction and culture.
... Οι κοινωνικές αλληλεπιδράσεις σε συνδυασμό με τις εκτελεστικές λειτουργίες έχει φανεί ότι βοηθούν στην ανάπτυξη της θεωρίας του νου (Carlson et al., 2004· Devine & Hughes, 2014· Fan et al., 2015· Goetz, 2003· Greenberg et al., 2013· Hughes et al., 2006· Hughes & Leekam, 2004· Kovács, 2009). Η θεωρία του νου είναι η ικανότητα του ατόμου να αντιλαμβάνεται την ψυχική κατάσταση των άλλων και με βάση αυτή τη γνώση να μπορεί να προβλέπει και να εξηγεί τη συμπεριφορά τους (Baron-Cohen et al., 1985). Μία από τις πιο γνωστές δοκιμασίες που χρησιμοποιούνται για την εξέταση της θεωρίας του νου στα παιδιά είναι να τους παρουσιάζεται μία σύντομη ιστορία με δύο πρωταγωνίστριες, τη Σάλλυ και την Άννα (Sally-Anne test, Baron-Cohen et al., 1985). ...
... Η θεωρία του νου είναι η ικανότητα του ατόμου να αντιλαμβάνεται την ψυχική κατάσταση των άλλων και με βάση αυτή τη γνώση να μπορεί να προβλέπει και να εξηγεί τη συμπεριφορά τους (Baron-Cohen et al., 1985). Μία από τις πιο γνωστές δοκιμασίες που χρησιμοποιούνται για την εξέταση της θεωρίας του νου στα παιδιά είναι να τους παρουσιάζεται μία σύντομη ιστορία με δύο πρωταγωνίστριες, τη Σάλλυ και την Άννα (Sally-Anne test, Baron-Cohen et al., 1985). Στην ιστορία αυτή η Σάλλυ τοποθετεί μία μπάλα σε ένα καλάθι και βγαίνει από την αίθουσα. ...
Conference Paper
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Η διγλωσσία αποτελεί ένα σύνηθες φαινόμενο στις σύγχρονες κοινωνίες. Υπολογίζεται ότι ένας στους τρεις ανθρώπους παγκοσμίως χρησιμοποιεί στην καθημερινότητά του δύο ή περισσότερες γλώσσες. Είτε εστιάσουμε την προσοχή μας στον πιο αυστηρό ορισμό της διγλωσσίας και αναλογιστούμε μόνο τα παιδιά που προέρχονται από δίγλωσσες οικογένειες είτε δούμε τη διγλωσσία ως ένα πιο γενικό, κοινωνικό φαινόμενο, κατανοούμε ότι πλέον δεν είναι σπάνια και στην ελληνική πραγματικότητα. Στις αρχές του εικοστού αιώνα, η διγλωσσία θεωρήθηκε ως μία αρνητική κατάσταση η οποία απέχει από την τυπική («φυσιολογική») και δημιουργεί προβλήματα στους ομιλητές. Η έντονη προκατάληψη κατά της διγλωσσίας και η διαιώνιση των μύθων σχετικά με αυτή συνεχίζεται ακόμα και σήμερα, με γονείς, εκπαιδευτικούς ακόμα και κλινικούς υγείας να προσπαθούν να την αποτρέψουν. Σκοπός της παρούσας μελέτης είναι να παρουσιάσει τα ευρήματα πολυετών και πολυπληθών επιστημονικών ερευνών. Τα ευρήματα αυτά αποδεικνύουν ότι η διγλωσσία δε δημιουργεί προβλήματα, αλλά συχνά αποτελεί πλεονέκτημα, καθώς προσφέρει ποικίλα και σημαντικά οφέλη στις γνωστικές, γλωσσικές και κοινωνικές δεξιότητες του ατόμου που την κατέχει.
... Theory of mind (ToM) can be defined as the ability to attribute mental states, such as desires, emotions, beliefs, or intents, to oneself and others (Baron-Cohen et al., 1985). ...
Article
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While research on the prevalence of co-occurring autism spectrum conditions (ASC) and trans gender modality (TGM) is available, less is known about the underlying mechanism of this association. Insight is needed to improve treatment of trans autistic people. This review provides an overview of theories on the ASC-TGM link and the available evidence for/against them published between January 2016 and October 2020. A systematic search was performed in PubMed, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and Scopus. This resulted in 36 studies, in which 15 theories were identified. Results indicate all theories lack substantial empirical support. Unlikely and promising theories were identified. The most promising theories were those on resistance to social norms and weakened sex differences. Future directions are provided.
... The child had to answer no to both questions to demonstrate their knowledge access understanding (coded as 1). The FBU task was adapted from the classic Sally-Anne task (Baron- Cohen, Leslie, & Frith, 1985). In this task, children saw a puppet place a ball in one location, leave, and then another puppet moved the ball to another location without the first puppet seeing. ...
Article
The early childhood years are critical for developing executive function (EF) and theory of mind (ToM). Prior literature suggests a robust relationship between EF and ToM; however, this relationship has seldom been investigated in children living in poverty. In addition, few studies have employed comprehensive ToM measures to explore how EF relates to different components of ToM. This study examined longitudinal relations between EF and ToM among 86 preschool children (3- to 5-year-old) attending Head Start programs in the United States. Children completed two EF tasks and a 5-task ToM battery twice, four months apart. Results showed that, for children living in poverty, early EF did not significantly predict later ToM as a composite after controlling for significant covariates. However, the emotionally salient component of ToM predicted children’s later Stroop performance, above and beyond several controls. Findings suggest that for impoverished children living in the U.S., the development of emotional perspective-taking may be particularly important for EF development compared to other components of ToM.
... Students with ASD may have strong decoding skills, but often have difficulty with reading comprehension and making abstract inferences from text (Nation et al., 2006;Newman, Macomber, & Naples, 2007). Many students with ASD have an impaired ability to draw inferences, make cause and effect connections, and often misunderstand social cues (Baron- Cohen, 2008;Baron-Cohen, Leslie, & Frith, 1985). These social challenges can translate into academic challenges in the area of reading comprehension across content areas. ...
Conference Paper
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A sample of 42 transition-age, young adults with Level 1 ASD completed a scenario-based instrument designed to measure Social Evaluative Reasoning Ability (SER) in the workplace. For the purposes of this analysis, SER was modeled as a unidimensional construct. A Rasch, Partial Credit Model was utilized to examine the psychometric properties of the instrument. The mathematics underpinning the Rasch model are discussed and visual and statistical indicators of fit at the instrument and item levels are presented and considered. Next, an argument for the validity of the instrument is presented. The paper concludes with a discussion of limitations and potential educational implications of the SER instrument.
... Existe cierto consenso en relacionar algunos de los rasgos previamente mencionados con las dificultades que los sujetos CA poseen para habilidades relacionadas con Teoría de la Mente, es decir, la posibilidad de comprender creencias, deseos e intenciones de otros (Baron Cohen et al., 1985). Esto conlleva que los sujetos CA enfrenten fallos a la hora de prever conductas y entender otros puntos de vista. ...
Article
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La descripción de las habilidades lingüísticas de los niños8 condición Asperger (CA) da cuenta de que sus discursos poseen solidez gramatical y denotan el dominio precoz de ciertos usos léxicos complejos. No obstante, experimentan dificultades lingüísticas para identificar y asignar estados mentales a otros. Así, muchos de sus usos comunicativos se tornan falentes, especialmente aquellos que implican articular o comprender usos comunicativos estratégicos. En este trabajo, caracterizamos los usos argumentativos de niños CA en instancias de interacción con un adulto, comparando estas secuencias con las de pares neurotípicos (NT). Se analiza la disposición de secuencias polémicas y el uso de dos tipos de conectores (‘pero’ y ‘porque’). El objetivo es comprender las estrategias argumentativas dispuestas en términos dinámicos considerando especialmente si los niños CA atienden a los argumentos que les ofrecen sus oponentes. Los resultados indican que los niños CA son más reacios que los NT a polemizar sobre tópicos que están fuera de su interés y que sus enunciados presentan más encadenamientos de carácter inferencial. En cuanto a los usos de los conectores, se observó que los niños CA los utilizan con más frecuencia que los niños NT. Predominan los usos en posición inicial e intermedia (vinculando cláusulas), lo que indicaría su uso adecuado como operadores de encadenamiento argumentativo. Por otro lado, resulta predominante el uso del conector de co-orientación (‘porque’) en posición intermedia. Los usos de ‘pero’ (conector de anti-orientación) son menos frecuentes, aunque el análisis cualitativo permite observar que su uso introduce una mayor variedad de funciones pragmáticas. Palabras clave: Asperger – estrategias – polémica – conectores – lenguaje infantil. Abstract The description of linguistic skills in children with Asperger condition (AC) reports that their speech shows a broad grammatical knowledge that reveals an earlier mastering of complex lexical resources. Nevertheless AC children face some difficulties when they have to linguistically identify and assign mental states to others. These problems turn unsatisfactories somo of their communicative, mainly those that require articulate or understanding communicative strategic uses. In this work we characterize the AC argumentative uses in conversational settings with an adult, comparing these sequences with those produced by Neurotypical children (NT), paired with AC children in Age and Social level. We analyze the polemic sequences and the use of two types of grammatical connectors (‘but’ and ‘because’). The aim is to understand the argumentative strategies used by children in a dynamic perspective, considering if AC children can cope with the arguments presented by their opponents.The results show that AC children are more reluctant to argue over topics that were out of their focus of interests and, also, their utterances, in a great amount of uses, show more inferential chaining than the NT’s utterances. If we take into account the grammatical connectors, we observed that AC children use them more frequently than NT children. The most common uses are in the initial and intermediate positions (linking clauses) and 127 it seems to indicate that AC children master properly their functions as argumentative chaining operators. ‘Because´ is the most frequent connector in co-orientation uses, it is when it occurs in an intermediate position. The uses of ´but´ (anti-orientation connector) are less frequent although the qualitative analysis allows us to observe a more range of pragmatic functions. Keywords: Asperger – strategies – polemic – connectors – child language.
Chapter
A large body of research has contributed to a complex picture in which bilingualism is generally associated with better performance on some cognitive tasks, particularly those that are based on executive functioning, but poorer performance on measures of verbal proficiency. However, not all studies find these effects, particularly the positive effects on cognitive function. What is now clear is that the potential impact of bilingualism on children’s cognition must be explained through multifaceted examinations of relevant factors and clarification of the specific language context from which the results emerged on an individual basis. We review the evidence for cognitive performance of children in multilingual environments and evaluate those results in terms of the type of cognitive ability being assessed and the type of environment children are experiencing. We also review how early the effects of multilingualism are detected, how long these effects last, and how childhood multilingualism can lead to brain plasticity. We conclude with a brief discussion of how multilingualism impacts other areas of cognitive functioning, such as theory of mind, creativity, and problem solving.
Article
Theory of mind (ToM) is considered crucial for understanding social-cognitive abilities and impairments. However, verbal theories of the mechanisms underlying ToM are often criticized as under-specified and mutually incompatible. This leads to measures of ToM being unreliable, to the extent that even canonical experimental tasks do not require representation of others’ mental states. There have been attempts at making computational models of ToM, but these are not easily available for broad research application. In order to help meet these challenges, we here introduce the Python package tomsup: Theory of mind simulations using Python. The package provides a computational eco-system for investigating and comparing computational models of hypothesized ToM mechanisms and for using them as experimental stimuli. The package notably includes an easy-to-use implementation of the variational recursive Bayesian k-ToM model developed by (Devaine, Hollard, & Daunizeau, 2014b) and of simpler non-recursive decision models, for comparison. We provide a series of tutorials on how to: (i) simulate agents relying on the k-ToM model and on a range of simpler types of mechanisms; (ii) employ those agents to generate online experimental stimuli; (iii) analyze the data generated in such experimental setup, and (iv) specify new custom ToM and heuristic cognitive models.
Article
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.
Article
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.
Article
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.
Article
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)