Revisiting the Strange Stories: Revealing Mentalizing Impairments in Autism

White, Sarah; Hill, Elisabeth L.; Happé, Francesca and Frith, Uta. 2009. Revisiting the Strange Stories: Revealing Mentalizing Impairments in Autism. Child Development, 80(4), pp. 1097-1117. ISSN 0009-3920 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

A test of advanced theory of mind (ToM), first introduced by F. Happé (1994), was adapted for children (mental, human, animal, and nature stories plus unlinked sentences). These materials were closely matched for difficulty and were presented to forty-five 7- to 12-year-olds with autism and 27 control children. Children with autism who showed ToM impairment on independent tests performed significantly more poorly than controls solely on the mental, human, and animal stories with greatest impairment on the former and least on the latter. Thus, a mentalizing deficit may affect understanding of biologic agents even when this does not explicitly require understanding others' mental states.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


autism spectrum disorder, social cognition, theory of mind, Strange Stories

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Research Office > REF2014




Funding bodyFunder IDGrant Number
Medical Research CouncilUNSPECIFIED

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

26 Mar 2010 09:25

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 15:46

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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