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Absence of spontaneous action anticipation by false belief attribution in children with autism spectrum disorder

Senju, Atsushi and Southgate, Victoria and Miura, Y. and Matsui, T. and Hasegawa, T. and Tojo, Y. and Osanai, H. and Csibra, Gergely (2010) Absence of spontaneous action anticipation by false belief attribution in children with autism spectrum disorder. Development and Psychopathology 22 (2), pp. 353-360. ISSN 0954-5794.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954579410000106

Abstract

Recently, a series of studies demonstrated false belief understanding in young children through completely nonverbal measures. These studies have revealed that children younger than 3 years of age, who consistently fail the standard verbal false belief test, can anticipate others' actions based on their attributed false beliefs. The current study examined whether children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who are known to have difficulties in the verbal false belief test, may also show such action anticipation in a nonverbal false belief test. We presented video stimuli of an actor watching an object being hidden in a box. The object was then displaced while the actor was looking away. We recorded children's eye movements and coded whether they spontaneously anticipated the actor's subsequent behavior, which could only have been predicted if they had attributed a false belief to her. Although typically developing children correctly anticipated the action, children with ASD failed to show such action anticipation. The results suggest that children with ASD have an impairment in false belief attribution, which is independent of their verbal ability.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2011 11:48
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2327

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