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Core Studies


Simon Baron-Cohen

 

 

There are some telly clips worth watching here at www.psychclips.co.uk

 

 

Simon Baron-Cohen is a director of the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. Here is Simon's home page at ARC.

 

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The Baron-Cohen Page

Baron-Cohen, S., Jollife, T., Mortimore, C. & Robertson, M. (1997) Another advanced test of theory of mind: evidence from very high functioning adults with autism or Asperger syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 38: 813-822

On this page you should find lots of useful stuff to help you in your learning of the Baron-Cohen experiment.

Here is the most important page. Click here for a summary and evaluation of the Baron-Cohen experiment.

This page has lots of Core Studies Section A past questions that you might want to practice. Please don?t email me for the answers.

Do try the quizzes. Here is a multichoice quiz, here is a true or false quiz, here is a match the results quiz, here is an easy match the sampling quiz here is a match the people quiz and here is a fill in the gap quiz to test your knowledge of the study.

This link will send you to a readable full version of the original text of the study although there are some images and tables missiing.

There are a number of great videos on psychclips to peruse but why not start by having a look at this one where Simon Baron-Cohen is shown diagnosing Daniel Tammet as a very high functioning person with autism?

And here is a great page on Jamie?s www.psychblog.co.uk where you can read lots of really useful articles related to this study.

Below is a very brief summary of the Baron-Cohen et al. experiment.

The main aim of this experiment was to investigate if high functioning adults with autism or Asperger syndrome would be impaired on a theory of mind test called the ?Reading the Mind in the Eyes Task?

The researchers were also interested to find out if females would be better than males on the ?Reading the Mind in the Eyes Task?

Three groups of participants were tested ? participants with high functioning autism or Asperger syndrome, ?normal? adults? and participants with Tourette syndrome.

Group 1 consisted of sixteen participants with high functioning autism or Asperger syndrome. They were all of normal intelligence. There were 13 men and 3 women.

Group 2 consisted of fifty age-matched controls (25 male and 25 female) with no history of psychiatric disorder and presumed to be of normal intelligence.

Group 3 consisted of ten participants with Tourette syndrome. These participants were also age matched with groups 1 and 2. There were eight men and two women, mirroring the sex ratio of group 1. They were all of normal intelligence.

It was expected that only participants in group1 (autism and Asperger syndrome) would be significantly impaired on the eye task.

The Eyes Task comprises of photographs of the eye region of 25 different male and female faces.

Each picture was shown for three seconds and participants were given a forced choice question between two mental states printed under each picture. The foil word was always the semantic opposite of the correct word. The maximum score on this test is 25.

As predicted high functioning adults with autism or Asperger syndrome did have more difficulties with the Eye Task than both ?normal? adults and adults with Tourette syndrome.

 

Mean score on the Eye Task

Adults with autism or Asperger syndrome = 16.3

'Normal' adults = 20.3

Adults with Tourette syndrome = 20.4

 

It was also found that ?normal? adult males had more difficulties with the Eye Task than ?normal? adult females.

 

Mean score on the Eye Task

'Normal' males = 18.8

'Normal' females = 21.8

 

Baron-Cohen et al argue that the results of the study provide experimental evidence for subtle theory of mind deficits in individuals with autism or Asperger syndrome. They argue that the core deficit involved in Autism is the lack of an advanced theory of mind.