Only connect? Communication, identification and autism

Hobson, Jessica A, Hobson, R Peter and Lee, Anthony (2007) Only connect? Communication, identification and autism. Social Neuroscience, 2 (3-4). pp. 320-335. ISSN 1747-0919

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In this paper, we elaborate a theoretical position and report an empirical study on a specific form of interpersonal engagement: the propensity to identify with the subjective orientation of another person. On the basis of a hypothesis that individuals with autism have a relative lack of this form of intersubjective connectedness (Hobson, 1993, 2002), we predicted that children and adolescents with autism would contrast with matched participants without autism (n=12 per group) in specific aspects of communication when someone requested them to “Get Pete to do this” and demonstrated actions in Pete's absence. As predicted, on blind ratings of videotapes of participants' communication, those with autism achieved lower scores on four indices of identification that were selected a priori: emotional engagement, sharing experience in joint attention, communication of style, and shifting in communicative role. The two groups were almost completely separate on a composite measure of identification. We consider the implications of these findings for typical and atypical development.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cognitive Psychology, Neuroscience, Social Cognition, Social Neuroscience, Social Psychology
Subjects: Communication (incl. disorders of) > Communication
Communication (incl. disorders of) > Autism
Department/People: Special Units

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