Baron-Cohen et al. (1997) Flashcards Preview

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What are the 3 difficulties people with autism experience?

-Difficulty with social communication (e.g. may not be able to read facial expression)
-Difficulty with social interaction (e.g. people with autism may not behave in a 'socially normal' way)
-Difficulty with social imagination (e.g. may find it hard to predict what happens next or anticipate danger)


What is Asperger syndrome?

It is very similar to Autism with the only difference being that people with Autism may have a delay in language development when younger.


What were the main aims of Baron-Cohen's study?

To develop an 'advanced' test of theory of mind in adults.


Outline the participants in Group 1.

-16 people
-Have either high-functioning autism (4 of them) or Asperger Syndrome (12 of them)
-All normal intelligence
-13 males, 3 females


Outline the participants in Group 2.

-50 'normal' adults
-25 males, 25 female


Outline the participants in Group 3.

-10 adults
-Have Tourette syndrome
-8 male, 2 female


What were Baron-Cohen's 2 hypotheses?

-That participants with autism or AS would show significant impairment on the Eyes Task
-That the normal females would perform significantly better on the Eyes Task than normal males


What were the four tasks in Baron-Cohen's study?

-The Eyes Task
-The Strange Stories Task
-The Gender Recognition Task
-The Basic Emotion Recognition Task


How many photographs of eyes were participants shown and for how long each?

25 photographs for 3 seconds each.


Describe the photographs of the eyes.

-Taken from magazines
-All in black and white
-15 x 10cm
-Photographs of eye region


What were participants asked when each pair of eyes was shown?

'Which word best describes what this person is thinking or feeling?' Underneath each photo was two opposite mental state terms (e.g. concerned and unconcerned)


What were participants presented with in the Strange Stories task?

Presented with two examples of each of 12 story types including Lie, White lie, Joke, Figure of Speech, and Irony.


What were participants asked to do after each story in the Strange Stories Task?

Asked to explain why the character said what he or she did.


Outline the Gender Recognition Task.

Involved participants looking at same sets of eyes in Eyes Task but asked to identify the gender.


Outline the Basic Emotion Recognition Task.

Participants shown photographs of whole faces. 6 faces were used and they displayed the 6 basic emotions: happy, sad, angry, afraid, disgust and surprise.


Why was the Strange Stories Task included?

To validate the Eyes Task as a theory of mind task - if Eyes Task was testing theory of mind, results should correlate with Strange Stories Task.


Why was the Gender Recognition and the Emotion Recognition Task included?

Used as controls to see if deficits on Eyes Task due to other factors.


What were the mean scores on the Eyes Task?

-Group 1 (Autism and Asperger) - 16.3/25
-Group 2 (Control) - 20.3/25
-Group 3 (Tourette) - 20.4/25


What are the conclusions of Baron-Cohen's study?

Baron-Cohen concluded that adults with autism or Asperger syndrome, despite being of normal or above average intelligence, have subtle deficits in their mind-reading ability.