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Goldsmiths - University of London

What Do Executive Factors Contribute to the Failure on False Belief Tasks by Children with Autism?

Russell, J.; Saltmarsh, R. and Hill, Elisabeth L.. 1999. What Do Executive Factors Contribute to the Failure on False Belief Tasks by Children with Autism? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 40(6), pp. 859-868. ISSN 0021-9630 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

As children with autism have pervasive executive difficulties it is necessary to determine
whether these contribute to their often-reported failure on the false belief task. Failure on
this task is frequently taken to diagnose the lack of a ``theory of mind''. We report two
studies using two tasks that make similar executive demands to the false belief task. The first
experiment showed that children with autism are significantly challenged by a "conflicting
desire" task, which suggests that their difficulty with the false belief task is not rooted in
difficulty with grasping the representational nature of belief. In the second study children
with autism were also found to be impaired on a novel version of the "false photograph
task". A parsimonious reading of these data is that their difficulty with all three tasks is due
to commonalities in the tasks' executive structure.

Item Type: Article

Identification Number (DOI):

10.1111/1469-7610.00504

Keywords:

autism spectrum disorder, executive functions, false belief, theory of mind, social cognition

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology

Dates:

DateEvent
1999Published

Item ID:

2626

Date Deposited:

26 Mar 2010 09:24

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 15:46

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/2626
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