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What's in a voice? Prosody as a test case for the Theory of Mind account of autism

Chevallier, C; Noveck, I; Happe, F; Wilson, D; (2011) What's in a voice? Prosody as a test case for the Theory of Mind account of autism. Neuropsychologia , 49 (3) 507 - 517. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.11.042. Green open access

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Abstract

The human voice conveys a variety of information about people's feelings, emotions and mental states. Some of this information relies on sophisticated Theory of Mind (ToM) skills, whilst others are simpler and do not require ToM. This variety provides an interesting test case for the ToM account of autism, which would predict greater impairment as ToM requirements increase. In this paper, we draw on psychological and pragmatic theories to classify vocal cues according to the amount of mindreading required to identify them. Children with a high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder and matched controls were tested in three experiments where the speakers' state had to be extracted from their vocalizations. Although our results confirm that people with autism have subtle difficulties dealing with vocal cues, they show a pattern of performance that is inconsistent with the view that atypical recognition of vocal cues is caused by impaired ToM.

Type: Article
Title: What's in a voice? Prosody as a test case for the Theory of Mind account of autism
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.11.042
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010....
Language: English
Additional information: © 2011. This manuscript version is published under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Non-derivative 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). This licence allows you to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work for personal and non-commercial use providing author and publisher attribution is clearly stated. Further details about CC BY licences are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0.
Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Emotions, Voice, Pragmatics, Theory of Mind, High-Functioning Autism, Complex Emotion Recognition, Asperger Syndrome, Spectrum Disorders, Metalinguistic Negation, Facial Expressions, Normal Adults, Developing Children, Task Performance, Young Children
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 > Linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1331364
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