Narrative dependency and the false belief task in autism

Evelyn McGregor (Lead / Corresponding author), Mark Bennett

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    Several studies have used a cognitive approach to teaching people with autism to pass false belief tasks with a broader aim of developing theory of mind abilities. However, these tasks have certain executive features that may influence performance on the tasks and the potential for generalization. The study examines the influence of narrative support and language level on the ability of children with autism to pass tests of false belief and control tasks of "false photo''. Thirty-four children with ASD, with a range of age and ability, were shown six video-recorded false belief stories and six matched false photo stories, half narrated and half not. Results showed that the children performed similarly on the tasks overall in narrated and unnarrated conditions. However, the narrative support aided responses to the control questions, highlighting the executive load in these tasks. Results showed a significant effect of verbal age on the children's performance on both sets of tasks.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-18
    Number of pages18
    JournalEuropean Journal of Developmental Psychology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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