Page 1 of 1 [ 13 posts ] 

janbiv2
Butterfly
Butterfly

User avatar

Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Gender: Female
Posts: 16

31 Jan 2006, 9:27 am

Do Asperger children have trouble with theory of mind?



BeeBee
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,257
Location: Upper Midwest, USA

31 Jan 2006, 9:42 am

Generally, yes.



Aspen
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 22 Aug 2005
Gender: Female
Posts: 345

31 Jan 2006, 9:48 am

Some of them do, but not all. Why do you ask?



DrizzleMan
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Age: 49
Gender: Male
Posts: 903

31 Jan 2006, 10:17 am

Remember that all children normally lack theory of mind up to a certain age.


_________________
The plural of platypus.


queerpuppy
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 12 Feb 2005
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Posts: 224
Location: S.E. London

31 Jan 2006, 3:15 pm

The theory is that people on the autistic spectrum have difficulty with theory of mind.

However, from observation, it would seem that even the most NT of people find it hard to work out what other peoples actions and words mean about their thoughts.

For example my mum takes it to heart that I don't phone her very often, nor does my dad. She doesn't conceive of it being purely that we forget to pick up the phone. We both love her. She is very NT and tries to read meanings into things that don't have meaning.

To contrast, if someone hasn't phoned me for ages I just think "maybe that person doesn't like talking on the phone".

As far as I can see it, I am looking at the world considering what other people are thinking and feeling, and a lot of NT people don't.



Emettman
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,027
Location: Cornwall, UK

31 Jan 2006, 3:24 pm

There's something there on theory of mind, but I'm not convinced it's quite what it's held out to be.

If NT's have such a good theory of mind, why do so few understand mine?

If they develop a theory of mind *for people much like them*, well fair enough,
but to conclude from that I have a poor or non-existent one is rather special pleading.
What came as a surprise but would fit, is that I find it easier, on the whole, to "tune in" to other aspies. A theory of mind *for people much like me*. Just not quite the popular model.



Jetson
The Map Maker
The Map Maker

User avatar

Joined: 22 Feb 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,219
Location: Vancouver, Canada

31 Jan 2006, 4:26 pm

DrizzleMan wrote:
Remember that all children normally lack theory of mind up to a certain age.

NT children usually develop Theory of Mind by age 3 and think in pictures to about age 5 or 6 before switching to linear (verbal) thought. Autistic people may develop theory of mind at a much higher age (or not at all, in some cases) and some remain in the "thinking in pictures" stage their whole lives.

queerpuppy wrote:
The theory is that people on the autistic spectrum have difficulty with theory of mind.

However, from observation, it would seem that even the most NT of people find it hard to work out what other peoples actions and words mean about their thoughts.

Those are slightly different issues. Theory of Mind is the realization that other people have independent brains and may believe a different set of facts to be true based on individual life experiences. Figuring out what another person is thinking or feeling is empathy. A working ToM is required in order to develop empathy, but empathy isn't a guaranteed result of having a ToM.

I developed ToM around age 10 and still have an underdeveloped sense of empathy.


_________________
What would Flying Spaghetti Monster do?


Emettman
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,027
Location: Cornwall, UK

31 Jan 2006, 6:39 pm

Jetson wrote:
Theory of Mind is the realization that other people have independent brains and may believe a different set of facts to be true based on individual life experiences. Figuring out what another person is thinking or feeling is empathy. A working ToM is required in order to develop empathy, but empathy isn't a guaranteed result of having a ToM.

I developed ToM around age 10 and still have an underdeveloped sense of empathy.


Ah, thank you. That's not quite how I've heard it put before and it makes sense.

In which case I came very late to that, and in an odd order. I was well into my teens before I was at all sure that these other moving things that frequently got in my way were the same type of thing that I was. The independent existence and different beliefs was obvious from an early age, the common nature was not.
I got to social rules and convention, and to ethics, before I got to empathy.



rhubarbpluscustard
Velociraptor
Velociraptor

User avatar

Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Posts: 425

04 Feb 2006, 2:11 pm

I developed theory of mind at eleven. Before that I just could not put myself in someone else's shoes, but now I'm fairly normal in this respect.



janbiv2
Butterfly
Butterfly

User avatar

Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Gender: Female
Posts: 16

04 Feb 2006, 2:37 pm

Thank you to all who responded.

Some time ago, I came upon a TOM test you could give your child to test their theory of mind. Justin was still much too young to test this on him, so I did the test with my typical daughter who was 4 at the time. I remember being surprised that it came so easy to her...I fully expected her NOT to get it.

The test goes like this:

You get two dolls and give each of them a name. Then you need a small object, say a small ball and two larger objects, say two cups or two boxes. Then you tell the following story and use the props accordingly:

Keep one doll out of site. With the other doll, you say Jan is really happy playing with her ball. It is her favorite ball, and you have the doll play with the ball. Then have the doll say I'm going to the park and I'm going to hide my ball under this cup (use one of the cups) so no one will take my ball while I am gone. Then, you have the doll hide the ball under one of the cups. Then you say, okay, Jan is going to the park and have her walk away and put her behind your back. Then, you bring out the other doll who comes over to the cups and says: Hmmmm...I wonder what is under this cup? She looks under and finds Jan's ball. She then says I'm going to hide this ball under THIS cup, and you have her put the ball in the OTHER cup. Then you have the doll leave to go home.

Meanwhile, the first doll (Jan) comes back. You have her say, "Oh, I can't wait to play with my ball."

Then you ask the child, which cup will Jan look under to find her ball?

The premise is if the child has Theory of Mind, the child will realize that the doll will not realize the ball had been moved, since the doll was not there to see it happen, and will point to the original cup that Jan placed the ball under.

I remember being surprised when my daughter picked the correct cup, so I guess some children may develop TOM by at least 4 years of age.

Anyway, I just did this with my son. For those of you who have read some of my posts, I am in the process of assessing whether my son is Aspergers or not.

Anyway, he also got this right. Not only that, he really got a kick out of the way the one doll tricked the other one.

Any thoughts?

Janis



quietangel
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 8 Nov 2005
Gender: Female
Posts: 362
Location: Maryland

04 Feb 2006, 3:40 pm

I saw a TOM test in a book. A person puts a small candy box on a child's desk. They show the child an orange pencil in the container. The person asks the child "If your teacher walks up to your desk righ now what will she think is in the container?"
If the child is lacking TOM they will say "an orange pencil" If the child has TOM they would say I don't know or they would say candy.

BTW I am 36, and I thought the orange pencil was the correct answer.


_________________
I research therefore, I am.
Just call me "Miss Communication"


Aspen
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 22 Aug 2005
Gender: Female
Posts: 345

04 Feb 2006, 9:42 pm

I think this TOM test is called the Sally-Anne test, Janis. My daughter passed the Sally-Anne test, but I do not think this test rules out Aspergers or another ASD.

In Temple Grandin's book, Thinking in Pictures, she says she has Theory of Mind.



janbiv2
Butterfly
Butterfly

User avatar

Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Gender: Female
Posts: 16

05 Feb 2006, 7:42 am

Aspen wrote:
I do not think this test rules out Aspergers or another ASD.
.


No, neither do. It would be silly of me or anyone else to rule out Aspergers for my son based on this one criteria. It does, however, add to my list of "less likely" behavior to be exhibited by a small child with Aspergers.

Thank you