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Goldsmiths - University of London

The automated windows task: the performance of preschool children, children with autism, and children with moderate learning difficulties

Russell, J.; Hala, S. and Hill, Elisabeth L.. 2003. The automated windows task: the performance of preschool children, children with autism, and children with moderate learning difficulties. Cognitive Development, 18(1), pp. 111-137. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The windows task (a hybrid executive/theory of mind task) requires participants to infer the utility of indicating a box in which a desired object is absent, adjacent to one where it is visible, in the presence of an experimenter in a completive role, and to maintain this response over a number of subsequent trials. We presented two pairs of groups (3 years vs. 4 years and autism vs. MLD) with an automated version of the task in order to find out whether the main locus of difficulty was executive or social. In two conditions the required response was to press a button beneath the chosen box, and in two conditions the deceptive or the merely competitive element was maintained. In the deceptive condition the participant had to tell the opponent which button to press. Automation removed group differences in performance on the first ‘inferential’ experimental trial, although group differences did remain in performance across all trials. We argue that it was the novel response mode used in the automated task that made it easier than the standard versions: button pressing (or indicating in the deceptive condition) rather than reference to a location. We discuss this possibility with regard to the kind of inhibitory requirements made by theory of mind tasks.

Item Type: Article

Keywords:

Autism; Windows task; Executive function; Theory of mind; Pre-school, typical development

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology

Dates:

DateEvent
2003Published

Item ID:

2630

Date Deposited:

26 Mar 2010 13:46

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 15:46

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/2630
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