Baron Cohen, Leslie And Frith Essay

570 words - 3 pages

Aim:Do autistic children have a theory of mind?Method:Laboratory experimentSample:There were 3 groups:20 autistic children14 Downs syndrome27 clinically normalProcedure:A simple scenario is acted out using 2 dolls, Sally and Anne. First the child is asked which doll is Sally and which doll is Anne. Sally then places a marble in her basket and leaves; Anne then takes the marble and places it in her box. Sally then returns. The child is then asked four questions:- The naming question (to check they can distinguish between the 2 dolls.)- The belief question (the critical question to test theory of mind: where will sally look for her marble?)- The reality question (where is the marble really?)- The memory ...view middle of the document...

Discussion/Evaluation:The results also suggest that age had no effect on the children's ability to answer the belief question and neither did intelligence (the Downs children gave correct answers to this question despite having very low intelligence.Therefore we can evaluate that the autistic children were unable to appreciate the difference between their own knowledge and the dolls. This is an inability to represent mental states; therefore they cannot predict the behavior of others.Strengths and Weaknesses:One weakness for this experiment is that dolls were used instead of real people and as autistic children have no imagination they will literally see the dolls as dolls and therefore will not see them as having any views; this would mean that they will not be able to interact with them.A strength is that the Downs children were used in the experiment this meant that the experimenter was able to distinguish whether the autistic children had a difficulty answering a question because they were autistic or because they were not very intelligent.Ethical Issue:There are no ethical issues.Use:This study is very useful as it gives people a better understanding that autistic people do have trouble interacting and do not have a theory of mind, the experiment was conducted very well. The one problem is that dolls were used and this could prove difficult for the autistic children to use their imagination. They could recognize the dolls as dolls that are just dolls and not dolls that have thoughts and beliefs.

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