Narrative role-taking in autism

Hobson, R Peter, Lee, Anthony and García-Pérez, Rosa M. (2008) Narrative role-taking in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38 (1). pp. 156-168. ISSN 0162-3257 (Print) 1573-3432 (Online)

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Are children with autism able to adopt, and shift among, the psychological perspectives of different people? Fifteen children with autism and 15 without autism, matched for chronological age and verbal ability, were given Feffer’s (1970) role-taking task in which they were asked to tell and then re-tell stories from different protagonists’ perspectives. The children with autism understood the task, adjusted narratives according to alternative viewpoints, and were similar to control participants in their use of mental state terms. Despite this, the children with autism achieved significantly lower scores for adopting different figures’ perspectives, and for shifting among complementary viewpoints. The results illustrate aspects of social-cognitive impairment that extend beyond the children’s limitations in ‘theory of mind’ understanding.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Narrative Role-Taking, Perspective Taking, Theory of Mind, Social Cognition, Interpersonal Relatedness
Subjects: Communication (incl. disorders of) > Autism
Department/People: Special Units

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