ERIC Number: EJ735662
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Aug
Mind and Body: Concepts of Human Cognition, Physiology and False Belief in Children with Autism or Typical Development
Peterson, Candida C.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, v35 n4 p487-497 Aug 2005
This study examined theory of mind (ToM) and concepts of human biology (eyes, heart, brain, lungs and mind) in a sample of 67 children, including 25 high functioning children with autism (age 6-13), plus age-matched and preschool comparison groups. Contrary to Baron-Cohen [1989, "Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders," 19(4), 579-600], most children with autism correctly understood the functions of the brain (84%) and the mind (64%). Their explanations were predominantly mentalistic. They outperformed typically developing preschoolers in understanding inner physiological (heart, lungs) and cognitive (brain, mind) systems, and scored as high as age-matched typical children. Yet, in line with much previous ToM research, most children with autism (60%) failed false belief, and their ToM performance was unrelated to their understanding of human biology. Results were discussed in relation to neurobiological and social-experiential accounts of the ToM deficit in autism.
Descriptors: Physiology, Autism, Cognitive Processes, Biology, Comprehension, Brain, Children, Age Differences, Social Experience, Human Body, Foreign Countries, Theories, Concept Formation, Comparative Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia