Baren-Cohen et al.

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  • to show that adults with Autism or Aspergers Syndrome would have an impaired theory of mind
  • To show that females would be significantly better than males on the Theory of Mind taks


  • Quasi Experiment
  • IV - Type of Person (clincally normal, autism/aspergers, tourettes)
  • DV - Performance in tests


  • Autism/Aspergers: Self select sample - Ad in National Autistic Society magazines OR clinically sourced - 16 Autism/Aspergers (high functioning people) - 3 females, 13 males (representative)
  • Clinically Normal: Ad in Cambridge Newspaper (self-select) chosen to age match Autism/Aspergers group - 50 people - 25 female, 25 male
  • Tourettes: Clinically sourced, 8 males, 2 females (representative)


  • tested individually at clinic OR own home OR Cambridge Uni
  • 4 tests (random order - counter balancing)
  • EYES TASK: 25 photos (Black and White) showing same region of face (middle of nose to eyebrows), the photos were chosen by the research team then given with other pictures to an independent rating team - ONLY used if the team were unanimous on the emotion shown. 
  • Each picture was only shown for 3 seconds - 'What word best describes what this person is feeling or thinking?' - forced choice e.g. Happy or Sad, relaxed or worried, friendly or hostile
  • Lead to a quantitative score out of 25
  • HAPPES STRANGE STORIES TASK: ask how characters in the stories were feeling/thinking) 
  • These improves concurrent validity and shows their level of understanding emotion 
  • GENDER RECOGNITION: same pictures used from eyes task - had to identify gender
  • BASIC EMOTIONS RECOGNITION: same people in the pictures but the image showed the whole face - 6 photos - had to identify basic emotions i.e. happy, sad, angry, disgust, fear, suprised.


  • AIM 1 - Normal/Tourettes better than Autistic - on eyes task mean - normal=20.3, tourettes=20.4, autistic=16.3…


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