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Background Information
·Earlier research by Simon Baron-Cohen and others had demonstrated that
children with autism had difficulties with first and second order tests, such as the
Sally Anne test. However further research has suggested that adults with autism
and Asperger syndrome can pass such tests.
·Further research by Happe has demonstrated that adults with autism and
Asperger syndrome had problems passing the strange stories task which
involved participants understanding another person's mental state.
·Because the first and second order tests, as well as the strange stories task,
were designed for children Baron Cohen et al. developed a new test called the
`Reading the mind in the Eyes Task (or Eyes Task for short).…read more

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Aim
·The main aim of this experiment was to investigate if high functioning adults
with autism or Asperger syndrome would be impaired on a theory of mind
test called the `Reading the Mind in the Eyes Task'
The researchers were also interested to find out if females would be better
than males on the `Reading the Mind in the Eyes Task'.
·Baron-Cohen et al argue that second order test can not be used as a
demonstration that adults with autism and Asperger syndrome have an
intact theory of mind because such tests have a ceiling effect. They have a
ceiling effect because children with normal intelligence can pass such tests
at about 6 years of age. In other words, these tests only measure as high
as the skills of a normal 6 year old child.…read more

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Sampling Method
· Self Selecting- The participants were recruited using an advert in the
National Autistic Society magazine as well as through clinics.
· Random- selected randomly from the subject panel held in the University
Department.
· Opportunity- recruited from a referral centre in London.…read more

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Sample
Three groups of participants were tested ­ participants with high functioning autism or
Asperger syndrome, `normal' adults' and participants with Tourette syndrome.
·Group 1: Consisted of 16 participants with high functioning autism or Asperger
syndrome. They were all of normal intelligence. There were 13 men and 3 women.
·Group 2: Consisted of 50 age-matched controls with no history of psychiatric disorder and
presumed to be of normal intelligence. 25 male and 25 female. `Normal Adults'
·Group 3: Consisted of 10 participants with Tourette syndrome. These participants
were also age matched with groups 1 and 2. There were 8 men and 2 women They
were all of normal intelligence.
All participants in group 1 (autism and Asperger syndrome) and 3 (Tourette syndrome) had
been tested and found to be to be able to pass first and second order false belief tasks. This
means that any failure on the Eyes Task could be attributed to problems with mind reading
problems beyond that of a six year old.…read more

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Experimental Method
·Since the independent variable was not manipulated (it was the characteristics of the
participants) the method used is a natural or quasi experiment. Quasi experiments take
advantage of conditions which occur naturally.
·Independent variable - the type of participants used ­ participants with high
functioning autism or Asperger syndrome, `normal' participants and participants with Tourette
syndrome.
·Dependent variable- the performance on the advanced test of theory of mind (eyes
task).…read more

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