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Title: Cognitive processes predicting advanced theory of mind in the broader autism phenotype.
Austin Authors: Green, Cherie C;Brown, Natasha J;Yap, Valerie M Z;Scheffer, Ingrid E ;Wilson, Sarah J
Affiliation: Child Health Research Unit, Barwon Health, Geelong, Australia
Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Australia
Department of Clinical Genetics, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
Victorian Clinical Genetics Services, MCRI, Parkville, Australia
Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia
Florey Institute of Neurosciences and Mental Health, Melbourne, Australia
Department of Medicine, Austin Health, The University of Melbourne, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date: Jun-2020
Date: 2019-09-30
Publication information: Autism Research 2020; 13(6): 921-934
Abstract: Little is known about executive functions (EFs) associated with advanced theory of mind (ToM) abilities. We aimed to determine if advanced ToM abilities were reduced in individuals with subclinical traits of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), known as the "Broader Autism Phenotype" (BAP), and identify the EFs that predicted unimpaired performance on an advanced ToM task, the faux pas test. We assessed 29 participants (13 males) with the BAP who were relatives of children with ASD. Thirteen participants showed reduced ability to understand a faux pas. A discriminant function analysis correctly classified 79% of cases as impaired or unimpaired, with high sensitivity (80%) and specificity (77%), which was best predicted by language-mediated EFs, including verbal generativity, working memory, cognitive inhibition, and flexibility. Autism Res 2019. © 2019 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. LAY SUMMARY: Little is known about the complex cognitive processes that enable accurate interpretation of another person's thoughts and emotions, known as "theory of mind." In relatives of individuals with autism, who had mild traits of autism themselves, approximately half had difficulty interpreting situations involving a social faux pas. Cognitive inhibition and flexibility, working memory, and verbal generativity were related to, and appeared to be protective for, unimpaired understanding of a faux pas.
DOI: 10.1002/aur.2209
ORCID: 0000-0002-3160-2106
Journal: Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research
PubMed URL: 31566923
Type: Journal Article
Subjects: autism spectrum disorder
broader autism phenotype
developmental psychology
executive function
faux pas
social skills
theory of mind
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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