Baron-Cohen et al

a brief summary of Baron-Cohen's study into theory of mind.

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  • Created by: Phie
  • Created on: 21-04-11 10:56


To test two hypotheses:

  • Adults with autism or aspergers will be impaired on theory of mind test.
  • Within the normal population, females will do better on the theory of mind test compared to males.
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Quasi experiment using independent-measures design and self-report measures.

  • IV = whether participant had autism or not
  • DV = correct response on 'eyes task'
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  • Group one - 16 high-functioning autistic people (self-selected)
  • Group two - 30 'normal' people (randomly selected)
  • Group three - 10 people with tourette's syndrome (from referral centre)
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Each participant was tested on 4 tasks - eye task, strange stories task, gender recognition and basic emotion recognition (Ekman).

Participants were tested in a quiet room either in the researcher's clinic, their own home or a lab at Cambridge University.

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Performance on eyes task (by condition / mean score out of 25)

  • autistic / 16.3
  • normal / 20.3
  • tourettes / 20.4

Performance on eyes task (by gender / mean score out of 25)

  • normal male / 18.8
  • normal female / 21/8
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  • Adults with autism had poorer performance on a subtle theory of mind test, which was not due to low intelligence or having a neuropsychiatric disability.
  • Clinically 'normal' females performed better on the eyes task that clinically 'normal' males. Evidence for mpathising-systemising bias?
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its 50 normal participants (25 female/25 male)

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