Psychology- Unit 2- Autisim

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  • Created by: FireDwarf
  • Created on: 18-03-14 21:27
What is joint attention?
When a both a infant/person and another person are both attentive to the same object and each other. Is gained via the first person gesturing towards the object, then paying attention to a responce from the other.
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What is it important in?
Developing mutual understanding and sharing and therefore a key milestone for social development.
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Why is autisim decribed as a syndrome?
Because it is a classification of symtoms which may have the same origin.
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What is the triad of imparements?
Three areas of development that people with autisim are impared within.
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What are the three areas? Examples of imparements in each.
Social interaction (lack of joint attention/lack of personal relationships) , langugage as used in social communication (Lack of speech, repetitive use of language), symbolic or imagantive play (abnormally narrow intrests, repetetive movements).
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What is mental retardation?
A disorder which is evident before 18 which includes a variety of defects including low intelligence.
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Person with an extra-ordinary ability in a praticular field.
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Islets of ability?
Superior talents (above average/average) in a praticular field.
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Pervasive developmental disorder
Severe imparement in several areas of development, starting in early childhood and becoming apparent as they develop.
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What are the 4 conditions/disorders we just discussed (memory)
Pervasive developmental disorder, mental retardation, savant, islets of ability.
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What are the two biological explanations of autisim?
Neurological correlates and genetics.
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What do we mean by neurological correlates? What is the negative side of this?
A correlation to results found from studies of the brain (usually abnormalities in areas) which have a positive correlation between their presence and areas of the brain responsible for the normal development of that area.Doesnt equal causal link.
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What have post mortem studies shown us?
Adnormalities on the frontal lobes of autisitic peoples brain, the limbic system and the brain stem and cerebellum.
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How are these linked to symptoms of autisim?
The frontal lobe is responsible for planning and control, Limbic for emotional regulation, other two motor co-ordination.
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Most are carried out on adults, where other events (eg accdients) could of occured, decreasing case and effect validity relationship.
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How do Pet scans work?
Radioactive isotopes are injected into thr patient. Travel in the blood to the brain where they provide images of the blood flow. More active, more blood flow.
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What was the study carried out regarding PET scans? What did it find?
zilbovictus, abnormalities in the temporal cortex in 75% of autistic brains in his study compared to the control group
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Use of radioactive isotopes.
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What is the prefered scan to the PET?
SPECT, because less radioative isoptoes are used.
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Name of a study using this scan? What did it find?
Positive correlations between blood flow in the frontal cortex and imparements in communication. Desire for sameness was in a P C with amygdale and right hippocampus blood flow.
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MRI case study? Related to brain size? MISSING ONE
Piven - autisitic brains had a greater total brain volume.
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What has research show regarding links to Autisim and genes?
If one family member is autisitic, increased chance of other members developing the disorder.
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Other links to genetics?
4:1 ratio of boys developing it then girls. Very high concordance rate (90%) in MZ twins with around 23% for DZ twins.
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Case study?
Ritvo- invesitgated concordance rates for autisim in MZ and DZ twins
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23 Mz twins and 17 DZ, found 96% in Mz but only 23% in DZ.
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Evaluation of genetics?
Low number of autisitic MZ twins, so reduced validity of results. Autistic like behaviours may just be due to living with autistic people. Why is DZ higher rate then regular siblings? Phenotype.
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What are the three cognitive explanations of autisim?
Lack of theory of mind, central conherence deficit and impaired excecutive functioning.
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What is theory of mind?
The ability to understand how the mind works and understand that other people dont have access to your thoughts and therefore may have a diffrent precpective or a false belief.
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What is lack of it therefore? What can this cause?
They are unable to understand that others may think diffrently or have diffrent knowlege, therefore unable to predict their behaviour. Causes spcoa; and communication impairments.
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Baron-Cohen study
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Three groups were tested, 20 autistic individuals, 14 downs syndrome and 27 "Normal". Child watches a scene with 2 dolls, Sally with a basket and anne with a box.
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Sally leaves for a walk, and Anne takes the marble and places it in her basket. When Sally returns, the child is asked "where will sally look for her marble"?.
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How is the experiment controlled?
3 control questions ensure they understand the situation , which doll is which, where is the marble really & where was the marble in the begining.
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20% correct responces in autisitic, 86% downs and 85% normal. No fails on the control q's
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Because the autisitc child did not undestand sally could not know the marble was moved (because they cant see it from her view point) we can conclude they lack theory of mind
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Dolls, may not be seen as real people. Maybe they didnt want to give false belief to a person? Both disproved via various experiements.
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Who came up with the smartie tube test? What does it show?
Perner; Child asked what was in the tube. They said smarties. The experimentor would then show them its a pencil. They would then ask the child what they thought another person would thinks in there.
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Results & conclusuion?
Autistic children would often (2/3 of the study) say their friend would think a pencil was there. It suggests that Autistic individuals dont understand that others wont know what they know.
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What is the 3rd experiment related to theory of mind? What does it show?
The comic *****. 3 types of comic stories, mechanical, behavioural & mentalistic. Autistic could complete the first 2 types but not the 3rd.
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Mentalistic stories require knowlege of what others would belief and their thoughts. Autistic people lack theory of mind so cant predict others behaviours.
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Evaluation? (negatives)
Theory of mind may not the cause of autisim but rather a symptom. Doesnt cover all abilities and deficts of individuals eg salvants/islets of ability. Lacks univerality.
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This idea of being unable to predict peoples behaviours explains social and communication defits in Autistic individuals.
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What is central coherence about? Is autistic individuals weak or strong?
Central coherence is the ability to see the general meaning in relation to a task rather then focusing on specific elements.
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What can it account for?
Would expalin why autistic individuals often have very specific narrow fields of intrest, as they focus very much on the specifics rather then general meaning. Also expalins savants. But, cant understand general meanings decreasing social skills.
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Shah and Frith- Autistic and non-autistic individuals had to locate a small target shape within a larger drawing.
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Results? Conclusion?
Autistic children far faster and accurate then none. Therefore, their ability to focus on individual elements is shown to be clearly higher.
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Another study?
Using the Ebbinhaus illusion, autistic individuals often did not succume to the visual illusion of seeing a circle as smaller due to being surrounded by larger circles.
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Partially expalins some of the deficits demostrated by autistic individuals but not all of them. May not be the explanation other theories such as low-level proccessing may explain it. Fathers demostrated simular results to autistic sons.
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What is impaired exceutive functioning?
Inability to call of higher intelectual proccessing to change or adapt behaviour to circumstances. Results in repetive actions being taken.
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Neurological corrolates?
Frontal lobe is linked to higher intellectual cognitive function and autistic individuals have been found with imparements in this area (Ohmnisi).
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Card task?
Autsitic individuals asked to sort cards into a specific order dependant upon a variable. The variable for sorting will then change.
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People with excecutive function will be able to adapt to the new variable in order to achieve the reward. Autistisc individuals cannot switch task and will continue with the current incorrect sorting variable.
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Explains some features but not all, a combination of cognitive explanations seems most likely. Furthermore, both genetic and cognitive will combine to give us the best possible explanation.
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What do autistic treatments aim to provide? What cant they do?
Reduce unusual behaviour and increase their social functioning. They cannot be cured.
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What is behaviour modification?
Behaviours are modelled to the child, shaping their current behaviour, and reinforced so they are internalised.
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Name of a popular behavioural approach to treatment?
Applied behavioural analysis (ABA).
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What is a kind of ABA?
DTT- Discrete trial training.
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What happens in DTT?
Bwhaviours are broken down into their most basic componants and then the use of postive reinforcement is used to reward preformance of each componant.
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How is it carried out?
In short simple traisl with a series of distinct, repeated lessons taught 1 to 1. Each trial consisits of 3 parts, ABC.
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A- antecedent is when they are asked to preform an action. Behaviour- responce from the person. C- consequence- Reaction from the therapist (positive reinforcement).
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What is important about these trials?
The child is offered some choice over what to do and their reward.
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Lovaas- 3 groups, 2 recieved therapy but for diffrent amounts of time and the 3rd recieved none.
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Far more treated patients demostrated a higher IQ and went to mainstream school then the control group.
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Expensive so not everyone can access it. Therapy was also not observed and carried out at home, no random assigment between groups. Also compared diffrent intensities rather then treatment.
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Other evaluation points of the theory as a whole?
Sallows states that rather then the actual therapy being the main element for successful treatment, the pre-treatment variables are important. Rapid learners will also do better then slow, regardless of treatment.
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Other points?
people who do not continue the training often tended to regress.
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Other form of AVA? What does this do that DTT cant do?
PRT (Pivotal responce training) - Increase generalisation of new skills & motivation (turn taking & social skills)
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What is behavioural shaping?
Form of a language training where autisitic individuals are trained to communicate more effectivly.
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How to do so?
Break the required behaviour into constiuent parts and reward approximations towards ultimate goal.
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Aim: For the child to speak to the mother. First, reward for looking at the adult. Then reward for eye contact. Then reward for uttering a sound, then reward for a clearly identifiable word.
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Very time consuming.
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What is an example of a visual support for communication?
PECS (Picture excahnge communication system).
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How to do so?
Identify what request training items the child wants. Child is required to give picture of prefered item to partner in exchange for the item. The item is therefore the reinforcement. Eventually, physical prompts are removed, and child verbalises REQ.
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What abount computer-animated tutors?
Use receptive and expressive language activites. Teaches language and generalisation to the childs natural enviroment was reported.
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Can reduce symtoms such as aggressive behaviour, anxiety, hyperactivity etc.
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Names of the two common drugs?
Haldol & Fenfluramine
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reduces social withdrawal, sterotyped motor behaviour and aggression.
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Many dont respond to the drug so it has no effect. Also potential side effects such as dyskinesia (involutary repetivie movements)
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Improvement in behaviour and thought proccesses BUT no consistent effect has been found on language or cognitive levels. Effects often subtle.
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Overall evaluation of medicine?
No drug yet warrented which reduces enough systoms for long term use. Other needs other interventions to therefore be effective. Side effects can outweigh gains. Many not tested on childen. Relives symptoms therefore carers too.
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Parental involvement, important?
Yes- Key to educational improvement. They are important in teaching children to generalise skills to new enviroments.
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Case study to prove parents are better?
Koegel- 30 hours of parental involvement was more effective then 200 hours f clinical.
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Not all parents can be involved (work), can put them under more stress. Not all can be cared for at home, some need proffesional help (severly disturbed).
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What is it important in?


Developing mutual understanding and sharing and therefore a key milestone for social development.

Card 3


Why is autisim decribed as a syndrome?


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Card 4


What is the triad of imparements?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What are the three areas? Examples of imparements in each.


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