A temporally sustained implicit theory of mind deficit in autism spectrum disorders

Schneider, Dana, Slaughter, Virginia P., Bayliss, Andrew ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4810-7758 and Dux, Paul E. (2013) A temporally sustained implicit theory of mind deficit in autism spectrum disorders. Cognition, 129 (2). pp. 410-417. ISSN 0010-0277

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Eye movements during false-belief tasks can reveal an individual’s capacity to implicitly monitor others’ mental states (theory of mind – ToM). It has been suggested, based on the results of a single-trial-experiment, that this ability is impaired in those with a high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD), despite neurotypical-like performance on explicit ToM measures. However, given there are known attention differences and visual hypersensitivities in ASD it is important to establish whether such impairments are evident over time. In addition, investigating implicit ToM using a repeated trial approach allows an assessment of whether learning processes can reduce the ASD impairment in this ability, as is the case with explicit ToM. Here we investigated the temporal profile of implicit ToM in individuals with ASD and a control group. Despite similar performance on explicit ToM measures, ASD-diagnosed individuals showed no evidence of implicit false-belief tracking even over a one-hour period and many trials, whereas control participants did. These findings demonstrate that the systems involved in implicit and explicit ToM are distinct and hint that impaired implicit false-belief tracking may play an important role in ASD. Further, they indicate that learning processes do not alleviate this impairment across the presentation of multiple trials.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: implicit theory of mind,social cognition,autism spectrum disorders
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Social Cognition Research Group
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Cognition, Action and Perception
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2015 14:03
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2023 07:31
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/54778
DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2013.08.004

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