Who am i meant to be? In search of a psychological account of autism, from the viewpoint of an ‘insider’

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Theory of mind deficit

  • The ability to empathise with others and imagine their thoughts and feelings, in order to comprehend and predict the behaviour of others (also called ‘mind-reading’ and ‘mentalising’).
  • This was postulated as a key feature of autism due its distinctiveness, in terms of not being found with other syndromes.
  • Baron-Cohen et al. (1985) found that 80% of autistic children between the ages of 6-16 failed at false belief tasks.
  • These findings were also repeated in subsequent studies using people rather than dolls like in the Sally-Ann test (Leslie and Frith, 1988).

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