Grade 11, Psychology, Pooja Khanna, Lancers International School

AUTISM AND THEORY OF MIND
AUTISM Possible Behavioural Characteristics (Persons with autism may possess the following characteristics in various combinations and in varying degrees of severity)
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Inappropriate laughing or giggling No real fear of dangers Apparent insensitivity to pain May not want cuddling Sustained unusual or repetitive play; uneven physical or verbal skills May avoid eye contact May prefer to be alone Difficulty in expressing needs; may use gestures Inappropriate attachments to objects Insistence on sameness Echoes words or phrases Inappropriate response or no response to sound Spins objects or self Difficulty in interacting with others

THEORY OF MIND Theory of mind is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own. BARON AND COHEN STUDY The aim of Baron-Cohen's experiment was to demonstrate that the central deficit underlying autism is the autistic child's inability to employ a theory of mind. Three groups of children were used a participants. 20 autistic children with a mean chronological age (CA) of 11;11 (11 years, 11 months) and a mean verbal mental age (vMA) of 5;5; 14 Down's syndrome children with a mean CA of 10;11 and a mean vMA 2;11; 27 'normal' children with a CA of 4;5 (who were assumed to have vMA's equivalent to their CA). The 61 children were tested one at a time. The children were seated behind a desk opposite the experimenter. On the desk were two dolls, Sally and Anne. Sally had a basket in front of her, and Anne had a box. The dolls were introduced to the children (e.g. ‘this is Sally’) After introducing the dolls, the child's ability to name them was tested (the 'Naming Question'). Sally then takes a marble and hides it in her basket. She then leaves the room and 'goes for a walk'. Whilst she is away, and therefore unknown to her, Anne takes the marble out of Sally's basket and puts it in her own box. Sally returns

Pooja Khanna. The findings support Baron-Cohen's argument that autistic children have underdeveloped 'theories of mind'. the children have to be able to appreciate that Sally has beliefs about the world which can differ from their own beliefs. and 'Where was the marble in the beginning?' ('Memory Question'). Two control questions are also asked: 'Where is the marble really?' ('Reality Question'). only 20 % (4 from 20) of the autistic children were able to do so. to indicate that the child knows that Sally believes the marble to be somewhere where it is not. Name one strength and one limitation of this study? . However. and 'memory' questions were answered correctly by all the children. The correct response is to point to or name Sally's basket. According to Baron-Cohen. The results lend support to the notion that autistic children may have under-developed 'theories of mind'. Psychology. that is. The 16 autistic children who gave the wrong response pointed to where the marble really was rather than to where Sally must believe it to be. whereas at least 85% of the 'normal' and Down's syndrome children gave the correct response to the belief question. Autistic Down's Normal children syndrome children children Namin 100 100 100 g questi on Reality 100 100 100 questi on Memor 100 100 100 y questi on Belief 20 86 85 questi on The 'naming'. The incorrect response is to point to Anne's box. That is. 'reality'. The percentage of correct responses to each of the four 'Sally-Anne' questions is shown in the table below. Q.Grade 11. During the second time a new location (the experimenters pocket) for the marble was introduced: For the children to succeed in this task they have to attribute a belief to Sally. most of the autistic children were unable to appreciate that another person has their own beliefs which may not match up with how things really are. Lancers International School and the child is asked the key question 'Where will Sally look for her marble?' (the 'Belief Question'). Every child was tested twice. and which happen in this case not to be true.

Psychology. If you were the Care-taker of an Autistic child. Pooja Khanna. Lancers International School Q. what will you do to raise the child well? .Grade 11.