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  • Created on: 09-03-13 14:53
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Baron-Cohen (1997)
1. To provide support for the cognitive explanation of autism; that autistic adults lack Theory of
2. To investigate whether females would be better than males on this test of Theory of Mind
Information on Experiment
This was a quasi-experiment.
The design was repeated measured
The design was matched pairs
Three groups
Group 1
16 participants
13 male and 3 female
Four with high-functioning autism and 12 with Asperger's Syndrome
Mean IQ of 105.3
Group 2
50 participants
25 male and 25 female
Drawn from general population of Cambridge
Assumed to have IQs in the normal range
Group 3
Ten participants
Eight male and two female
Aged matched with Group 1
All with Tourette's syndrome
Mean IQ of 103.5

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Eyes Task; 25 standardised black and white photos of eyes
Shown for 3 seconds
Forced choice between two mental state terms
Asked, `Which word best describes what this person is feeling or thinking?'
Strange Stories Task; used to test concurrent validity of the Eyes Task
Control Tasks; Gender recognition and basic emotion recognition
Independent Variable
The three different groups of participants
Dependent Variable
Performance of an advanced test of theory of mind (eyes task)
Group 1 scores significantly lower on the Eyes Task…read more

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The lack of theory of mind is a core deficit in autistic in autistic spectrum disorders
They also explain that poor performance on the Eyes Task could not be due to low IQ (as the
participants in Group 1 were in the normal or above range of intelligence) OR to
developmental nero-psychiatic disability since the participants with Tourette's Syndrome had
no difficulties with the Task
Group Gender Recognition Task
Autism/Asperger's (16) 24.1
Normal (50) 23.3
Tourette's (10) 23.…read more


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