Theory Of Mind
What Is Theory Of Mind?
Theory Of Mind is:
- being able to infer the full range of mental states (beliefs, desires, intentions, imagination, emotions, etc.) that cause action.
- In brief, having a theory of mind is to be able to reflect on the contents of one's own and other's minds."
Autism and Theory Of Mind
People with autism ussually have a deficit of Theory of Mind, this is because they have difficulty understanding other people's emotions and body language.
Simon Baron-Cohen dveloped the Thoery Of Mind during his study in 1997.
Baron-Cohen Another Advanced Test Of Theory Of Min
Aim of the experiment:
- To provide more support for cognitive explantion of autism; That autistic adults lack theory of Mind
- They Theory Of Mind test, in which people have to choose the best word to describe the emotion displayed in a photograph of a persons eyes
- 16 participants
- 13 male and 3 female
- four with high functioning autism and aspergers syndrome
- mean IQ of 1.5.3
- 50 participants
- 25 male and 15 female
- drawn from general population of cambridge
- assumed to have IQ's in the normal range
- Ten participants
- 8 male and 2 female
- All with tourettes syndrome/ Mean IQ of 103.5
- Quasi Experiment
- Eye Task- 25 standardised black and white photographs of eyes
- shown for three seconds
- forced choiced between 2 mental state terms
- Asked "which word best describes what this person is thinking or fealing?"
- Strange stories task- used to check concurrent validity of the eyes task
- control tasks- gender recognition and basic emotion recognition
-Group 1 (autism) scored significantly lower on the eyes task than the other 2 groups
-No difference between group 2 (normal) and group 3 (tourettes)
-Group 1 more likely to make error on strange stories task than other groups
-No difference between the groups on gender recognition or basic emotion task
-Females in 'normal' group preformed significantly better than the males on the eyest test. This means females generally have a better Theory of Mind.
- The lack of theory of mind is a core deficit in autism spectrum disorders
- This explains the poor preformance in the Eye task could not be due to low IQ (as participants in group 1were at normal or above normal IQ)
- It could not be due to developmental neuro-psychiatric disibility, since the participants with tourettes syndrome had no difficulties with the task.