New test captures subtle social difficulties in adults with autism

Testing Theory of Mind - deficits often occur with autism spectrum disorders.

A new test can assess theory of mind — the ability to understand others’ mental states — in adults with autism. In the test, people with the condition interpret scenes in a video for white lies, jokes and irony.

Many people with autism have difficulty grasping what others think or feel. But most tests of this ability are designed for children.

Curated from Spectrum authored by Bahar Gholipour

 


The FARM responds:

So why is this important????  This is a big area of disability for people with autism!  And with testing theory of mind – you can see what deficits that need addressing.
 
Pretend that you cannot tell when anyone is making a joke.  You just don’t get it.  Not a big deal?  Well, what if you cannot tell if someone is screaming “Fire” to be funny?  I don’t think the police or the fire department would appreciate a “false” alarm.
Wikipedia defines the theory of mind as “. . . the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are different from one’s own.”  This often leads to misunderstandings like other people believing that the adult with autism is self-centered or selfish.
Autistic children and adults often have to specifically learn skills that we pick up naturally as we grow up.  If you have an autistic employee or friend in your life – talk to them if they do something that annoys you.  They may not even realize it at all.  Communication is always the center of all types of relationships.
Cindy from The FARM

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