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Atypical development of spontaneous social cognition in autism spectrum disorders

Senju, Atsushi (2013) Atypical development of spontaneous social cognition in autism spectrum disorders. Brain and Development 35 (2), pp. 96-101. ISSN 0387-7604.

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Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have profound impairment in the development of social interaction and communication. However, it is also known that some ‘high-functioning’ individuals with ASD show apparently typical capacity to process social information in a controlled experimental settings, despite their difficulties in daily life. The current paper overviews the spontaneous social cognition, spontaneous processing of social information in the absence of explicit instruction or task demand, in individuals with ASD. Three areas of the researches, false belief attribution, imitation/mimicry, and eye gaze processing, have been reviewed. The literatures suggest that high-functioning individuals with ASD (a) do not spontaneously attribute false belief to others, even though they can easily do so when explicitly instructed, (b) can imitate others’ goal-directed actions under explicit instruction and show spontaneous mimicry of others’ actions when they attend to the action, but are less likely to show spontaneous mimicry without the task structure to navigate attention to others’ action and (c) can process others’ gaze direction and shift attention to others’ gaze directions, but fail to spontaneously attend to another person’s eyes in social and communicative context, and less likely to be prompted to respond in response to perceived eye contact. These results are consistent with the claim that individuals with ASD do not spontaneously attend to socially relevant information, even though they can easily process the same information when their attention is navigated towards it.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Autism spectrum disorders, Theory of Mind, Imitation, Mimicry, Eye gaze, Gaze processing, Social cognition
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2012 15:22
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2014 12:45

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