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Publication Detail
Exploring the building blocks of social cognition: spontaneous agency perception and visual perspective taking in autism.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Zwickel J, White SJ, Coniston D, Senju A, Frith U
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    564, 571
  • Journal:
    Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Country:
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Adult, Autistic Disorder, Cognition Disorders, Eye Movements, Female, Humans, Male, Neuropsychological Tests, Photic Stimulation, Social Behavior, Verbal Behavior, Visual Perception
Individuals with autism spectrum disorders have highly characteristic impairments in social interaction and this is true also for those with high functioning autism or Asperger syndrome (AS). These social cognitive impairments are far from global and it seems likely that some of the building blocks of social cognition are intact. In our first experiment, we investigated whether high functioning adults who also had a diagnosis of AS would be similar to control participants in terms of their eye movements when watching animated triangles in short movies that normally evoke mentalizing. They were. Our second experiment using the same movies, tested whether both groups would spontaneously adopt the visuo-spatial perspective of a triangle protagonist. They did. At the same time autistic participants differed in their verbal accounts of the story line underlying the movies, confirming their specific difficulties in on-line mentalizing. In spite of this difficulty, two basic building blocks of social cognition appear to be intact: spontaneous agency perception and spontaneous visual perspective taking.
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