OCR AS Psychology: Core Studies - Baron-Cohen (1)

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  • Created by: Majid
  • Created on: 14-03-13 20:01

Baron-Cohen (1)

Background: This study was was investigating whether high functioning adults with autism and Asperger  syndrome had deficiencies employing a theory of mind. Earlier research by Baron-Cohen and others showed 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. Happe showed adults with autism and Asperger syndrome had difficulty passing the strange stories task which involved participants understanding another person's mental state.Because 1st order, 2nd order tests as well as strange stories task was developed for children, Baron Cohen developed the "Eyes Task". This advanced test aims to discover if high functioning adults with autism and Asperger syndrome do have problems with mind reading which is argued to be related to the ability to employ a theory of mind.Kanner (1943) describes a syndrome as a collection of symptoms. Nowadays autism is characterised by a triad of impairments: Social Interaction > Social Imagination > Social communication:

Difficulties with social interaction = Individuals with autism may have difficulties in forming relationships, making friends and often appear indifferent to other people. They often find small talk and chatting very difficult and often take what people say very literally; Difficulties with social (verbal/non-verbal) communication = Autistic people have difficulties with basic communication and letting other people know what they think and feel. They find it difficult to make eye contact,often repeat their speech and get anxious in a social situation; Difficulties with social imagination = Autistic people may find it difficult to be flexible with their thoughts and find it hard to predict what will happen next. This can lead to anxiety and can disrupt routines.

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