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Mentalising and conversation-following in autism

Wu, H-C; Biondo, F; O'Mahony, C; White, S; Thiebaut, F; Rees, G; Burgess, PW; (2020) Mentalising and conversation-following in autism. Autism 10.1177/1362361320935690. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Some people with autism spectrum disorders have been observed to experience difficulties with making correct inferences in conversations in social situations. However, the nature and origin of their problem is rarely investigated. This study used manipulations of video stimuli to investigate two questions. The first question was whether it is the number of people involved in social situations, that is, the source of problems in following conversations, or whether it is the increased mentalising demands required to comprehend interactions between several people. The second question asked was whether the nature and pattern of the errors that autism spectrum disorder participants show are the same as typically developing people make when they make an error. In total, 43 typically developed adults and 30 adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder were studied. We found that it was the amount of mentalising required, rather than the number of people involved, which caused problems for people with autism spectrum disorder in following conversations. Furthermore, the autism spectrum disorder participants showed a more heterogeneous pattern of errors, showing less agreement among themselves than the typically developed group as to which test items were hardest. So, fully understanding the observed behaviour consequent upon weakness in mentalising ability in people with autism spectrum disorders requires consideration of factors other than mentalising

Type: Article
Title: Mentalising and conversation-following in autism
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1362361320935690
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361320935690
Language: English
Additional information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission
Keywords: autism, conversation, heterogeneity, mentalising, social interaction
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106524
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