Brief Report: Theory of Mind, Relational Reasoning, and Social Responsiveness in Children With and Without Autism: Demonstration of Feasibility for a Larger-Scale Study

John R. Pruett, Sridhar Kandala, Steven E. Petersen, Daniel J. Povinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Understanding the underpinnings of social responsiveness and theory of mind (ToM) will enhance our knowledge of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We hypothesize that higher-order relational reasoning (higher-order RR: reasoning necessitating integration of relationships among multiple variables) is necessary but not sufficient for ToM, and that social responsiveness varies independently of higher-order RR. A pilot experiment tested these hypotheses in n = 17 children, 3–14, with and without ASD. No child failing 2nd-order RR passed a false belief ToM test. Contrary to prediction, Social Responsiveness Scale scores did correlate with 2nd-order RR performance, likely due to sample characteristics. It is feasible to translate this comparative cognition-inspired line of inquiry for full-scale studies of ToM, higher-order RR, and social responsiveness in ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2243-2251
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of autism and developmental disorders
Volume45
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 19 2015

Keywords

  • Analogical reasoning
  • Autism
  • Cognition
  • Relational reasoning
  • Social responsiveness
  • Theory of mind

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