8 - Theory of Mind and Autism Flashcards Preview

Developmental > 8 - Theory of Mind and Autism > Flashcards

Flashcards in 8 - Theory of Mind and Autism Deck (53):

Neisser's 5 Senses of Self

Not necessarily sequential
- ecological self
- interpersonal self
- extended self
- private self
- conceptual self

*sense of self is a gradual developmental process, the aspects together contribute to a higher-order self-concept


Ecological Self

- sense of where we are as we move through the physical environment
> automatic process, emerges at birth


Interpersonal Self

- get a sense of 'I' and 'you" in social interactions
- no empathy yet
- not unique to humans
> emerges shortly after birth


Extended Self

- aware of autobiographic timeline
> connection between past, present and future
+ arises from around 4y
+ some indication that this type of self is needed before children can memorise experiences (maybe why you can't remember earlier memories)


Private Self

- understand we have private thoughts, perspective that no one else has
> emerges around 4y
+ shown by sharing of dreams


Conceptual Self

- sense of place in a wider sociocultural context (family/class/gender)
> emerges from 4-5y
+ major growth in conceptual self occurs in mid-late childhood


Mirror Test (mark test)

Test of awareness of self

- child is marked on the face and shown a mirror
> by 2y 50% of children can recognise themselves, and point to the mark

Requirements for passing the test:
- children understand that the mirror image is them
Object permanence
- may be a prerequisite for self-recognition (self permanence)


Gender Identity

- perception of oneself as either male or female
> largely biological

- from 2y children start developing a gender identity


Gender Typing

- process by which children become aware of their gender and acquire culture-appropriate values/behaviours

- children will start using stereotype features to determine whether another child is a boy or girl (i.e. long hair)


Gender Stereotypes

- beliefs held about how men/women should behave (cultural)


Gender Roles

- reflections of a culture's gender stereotypes
> influenced by social context


Sexual Orientation

- sexual attraction to members of a particular gender


Gender Typing Theories

Kohlberg's Cognitive Developmental Theory of Gender Typing

Gender-Schema Theory

Nesdale's Social Identity Development Theory

Ingroup Favouritism
(developmental intergroup theory)


Kohlberg's Cognitive Developmental Theory of Gender Typing (3 phases)

- Basic gender identity is acquired through reinforcement and role models (2-3y)
> no understanding of gender identity permanence

- Gender stability acquisition (4-5y)

- Gender constancy acquisition
> realise others also have gender stability (6-7y)
> recognise that cultural stereotypes of gender don't necessarily predict gender


Gender-Schema Theory of gender typing

- child develops schemas about gender that help organise and understand information relating to gender
> easier to remember information that is gender-consistent
+ will insist that policemen are always male
> learned up to 3y

- at 4-5y, these schemas consolidate
> learn that their schemas are flexible


Nesdale's Social Identity Development Theory of gender typing (4 stages of Ethnic Attitudes)

- Undifferentiated
> do not differentiate ethnicities

- Ethnic awareness

- Ethnic preference
> often to own, but could prefer the ethnic majority

- Ethnic prejudice
> not all children reach this


Developmental Intergroup Theory of gender typing

Ingroup Favouritism

- groups form rapidly
- group formation is based on differences


Minimal Group affiliation study

- kids much more likely to remember positive information on kid with the same shirt (in-group), and negative information for the other shirt (out-group)
- kid much more wanting to play with the in-group kid

- kids divided into blue shirt/green shirt groups
- both were told a story about a kid in a green/blue shirt with equal numbers of positive and negative characteristics in each


Factors effecting child prejudice

- colour blind language has no effect on child prejudice

- exposure to a diversity of ethnicities reduces prejudice



the ability to control our emotions
- requires the ability to inhibit engaging in a desired or natural action (Delay of Gratification)


Delay of Gratification

> ability to inhibit engaging in an action that will bring a desired reward


Marshmallow test

Test of self-regulation (which requires delay of gratification)

- much harder to delay gratification if the marshmallow is in view
- kids employing distraction strategies are much more likely to pass the test

- Study comparing kids in middle-class Germany to local kids in Cameroon (using a locally known treat)
> 30% of german kids passed the test, as normally found
> 70% of Cameroon kids passed, didn't seem to mind
+ shows that cultural differences have an impact on developing self regulation
+ probably due to cultural rules on behaviour and respect


Longitudinal Glitter test

Test of development of self-regulation

Results of glitter test:
- delay of gratification improves with age
- kids that did well in the glitter test were likely to do well in the stroop test

- Child is shown a desirable (glittery) object and told not to touch it
- tested at ages:
> 14m
> 20m
> 24m
> 36m

- all children were seen again at 17y
> tested Executive Functioning via Stroop Test
+ words of colour, letters are in a particular colour
+ have to say the colour of the letters not the word written


Stroop test

Test of executive functioning

+ words of colour, letters are in a particular colour
+ have to say the colour of the letters not the word written


Head-Toes-Knees-Shoulders task

test of self-regulation and impulse control

Stage 1
- touch your head = touch your toes
> vice versa
Stage 2
- touch your shoulders = touch your knees
> vice versa
Stage 3
- incorporates all elements

- complex task
- understand instructions, execute them
> impulse control required to overrule the instructions

- success on this task varies across cultures
> asian cultures seem to be better than western cultures
+ seem to develop self-regulation quicker


Self-regulation and the brain

- different parts of the brain develop at different ages
- final part to develop is the frontal lobe (late teen, early adulthood)
> frontal lobe responsible for executive functioning
+ planning, emotional regulation, thought regulation


Case of Phineas Gage

- had an accident where a metal rod went through his frontal lobe
- survived but with a striking personality change and no impulse control
- showed that the frontal lobe is crucial for self-regulation


Theory of Mind

The ability to think about and reason about the mental states of others

- required to make inferences about what they're doing and why they're doing it

- may be related to empathy
- develops gradually
- important in social development


Stages of Social Perspective Taking (0-4)

- Egocentric Perspective
- Differentiated Perspective
- Reciprocal Perspective
- Mutual Perspective
- Networks of Perspective


Egocentric Perspective

Stage 0
> do not distinguish between their own perspective and others'
> do not recognise that other's may interpret experiences differently


Differentiated Perspective

Stage 1
> recognise that someone else may have a different perspective
> cannot accurately judge that other perspective


Reciprocal Perspective

Stage 3
> child can see themselves from another perspective
> can anticipate and consider others' thoughts and feelings


Mutual Perspective

Stage 3
> can identify their own, someone else, but also a mutual perspective from a third person
+ i.e. a teacher may have different views on different students


Network of Perspective

Stage 4
> children understand perspectives wider than one particular person
+ i.e. political / social perspectives


Smarties Test

False-belief test
Test of Perspective

- children under 3y will say the friend will say 'pencils'
> have not developed a theory of mind understanding, so cannot determine that the friend will not know what's in the box
- children around 4y will say the friend will say 'smarties'
> have developed theory of mind understanding

- child given a box of smarties
- 'whats in the box'?
> smarties
- box is opened (pencils inside)
- 'whats in the box'?
> pencils
- 'we will close the box and show it to your friend, what will they say is in the box?'


When does Theory of Mind develop?

in normally developing children around 3.5y


Sally-Anne task

False-Belief task
Test of perspective

- children over 4y recognise sally doesn't know that the ball has moved and say she will look in the basket
- children of 3y think she will look in the box
- children with autism will fail (think sally looks in the box) at an older age
> could indicate that their incomplete social relationships is due to an inability to understand theory of mind, and appreciate another person's perspective

- two dolls, sally and anne
- a box and a basket
- sally puts a ball in the basket and goes away
- anne moves the ball in the box
- sally returns
- where will sally look for the ball?

- also asked: where was the ball originally + where is the ball really


Results of children with autism on false-belief tasks and the indication

- children with autism will fail false-belief tasks at an older age that normally developing children

> could indicate that their incomplete social relationships is due to an inability to understand theory of mind, and appreciate another person's perspective


Characteristics of Autism

- impairment in social interaction and communication
- restricted range of interests and activities

- large variability in
> expression/severity
> language
> intellectual abilities
- thus: autism spectrum disorders


Classic Autism (Kanner autism)

initial classification of autism
> very severe autism with co-occurring intellectual disability


DSM-IV classification of autism

> diagnostic criteria are broader than classic autism, could occur in high-intellectual functioners

> umbrella term: Pervasive Developmental Disorders:
+ Aspergers and PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified)


DSM-5 classification of autism

> all autism subtypes captured under Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
+ because the previous subtypes were not reliable (different diagnoses in different clinics)
> stricter criteria than DSM-IV


Different Diagnostic Classification Systems, DSM-5 and ISD-10

- DSM (5)
> Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental disorders
+ made by the American Psychiatric Association (APA)

- ISD-10
> Published by the World Health Organisation (WHO)
+ ISD-11 coming, will be globally applicable


Autism Classification Terminology:

- DSM-IV and ICD-10
> denote Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD)

- DSM-5 and ICD-11
> denote Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

- some people use Autism to denote the severe subtype, some use Autism to denote all ASD


Measuring the Commonality of Autism (2)


- first showed 0.04%
- recent studies showing 1%



number of new cases in a particular time frame in a particular population



total number of cases at a particular time in a particular population


Causes of an increase in autism prevalence

- increased developmental screenings

- diagnostic criteria have widened

- increased awareness in general public and medical/educational professionals
> thus fewer undetected cases

- Diagnostic Substitution
> diagnostic criteria of today would indicate Autism, whereas at the time (in the past) someone was diagnosed with a different disorder (i.e. developmental language disorder), due to different criteria

* research suggests autism levels are stable

- it is unknown whether stricter criteria in DSM-5 (vs DSM-IV) will affect the ASD prevalence in future studies


Sex differences in autism

- much higher in males than females (4:1)
> in those with intellectual disability ratio is (2:1)
> in those with normal IQ, ratio is (8:1)

- perhaps autism is related to prenatal testosterone
- perhaps autism is under-diagnosed in females


Causes of Autism

- used to be attributed to brain damage or 'refrigerator mother' (cold parenting)

- First twin study showed a much higher concordance rate of autism with MZ twins than DZ twins

- more recent twin studies show similar results
> strong genetic influence
> heritability around 80%


What have family studies found in relation to autism?

- families with Asperger's traits or syndrome within them are likely to retain them, and can give rise to autistic children

Broader Autistic Phenotype
- within families with autism, relatives show
> increased rates of social deficits
> difficulties with communication
> preference for a routine

- broader autism phenotype is observed on a behavioural level as well as a cognitive level
- there is a real variation in autistic traits
> only in the extreme presentation of these traits may you be potentially considered autistic


What is Asperger's ?

a form of autism


Risk Factors for Autism

- genetic heritability
> also de novo mutations

- Environmental risk factors
> prenatal infection
> prenatal exposure to pollutants of insecticides
> maternal medication use
> birth complications

- inconsistent evidence to a clear single environmental risk factor
- likely a gene-environment interaction