Visual perspective-taking in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Back, Elisa, Granados, Patricia and Apperly, Ian (2011) Visual perspective-taking in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In: British Psychological Society Developmental Section Annual Conference; 07 - 09 Sep 2011, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Previous research has suggested that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) can successfully pass level 1 visual perspective-taking tasks, which involves the ability to take another person’s visual perspective. The current study investigated theory of mind use during a real-time interaction. Adolescents with ASD were individually matched to typically developing adolescents on chronological age and IQ. Participants faced computerized grids containing objects in different slots and they were instructed by the on-screen ‘director’ to move objects around the grid. The director could see some but not all of the objects visible to the participant. There was also a non-social baseline condition that controlled for task demands that were unrelated to theory of mind. In this condition the instructions to move objects were from the participant’s own perspective as there was no director on the screen. Findings suggested that participants with ASD had similar error rates and response times to those without ASD. Generally, participants made more errors in the director version, in which theory of mind information had to be used, than in the non-social baseline condition. In sum, both adolescents with and without ASD found it difficult to use another person’s visual perspective in this online communication task.

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