Higher order Theory of Mind (test yourself)

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How did you do on the Theory of Mind questions?
They were all confusing. 14%  14%  [ 14 ]
I could do the lower order questions, but I couldn't do the 4th order ones. 14%  14%  [ 14 ]
They were all doable. 72%  72%  [ 72 ]
Total votes : 100

grad_girl
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18 Jan 2011, 4:07 am

Hey all,

So as far as I understand, by adulthood many Aspies figure out first order Theory of Mind - for example, the infamous Sally-Anne test. What I'm curious about is how grown-up Aspies do on higher order tests. In the paper below, Appendix 1 contains a number of stories that test 4th order (and lower) Theory of Mind. I'd be interested if people tried doing the ToM questions in the stories - I don't think the answers are given in the paper, but I'd be happy to post them after people have tried them!

http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/daniel.nettl ... nettle.pdf



StuartN
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18 Jan 2011, 5:21 am

I have difficulty answering some of them. I think that I would get every answer correct, but for instance Story 4 ToM Level 3 and Story 5 ToM Level 2 do not make sense to me - I can pick one answer that is not disagreeing with the stated facts in the story, but that answer does not seem completely correct either.



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18 Jan 2011, 8:16 am

Easy!

Just; I dont always trust these kinds of informations:
"Bobby’s mum knows that chocolate is Bobby’s favourite thing in all the world."

Because its a second hand information.

The first hand information is only that Bobby loves chocolate.

Therefore I was thinking that a 5th level of theory of mind could be the awareness of the possibility that what Bobbys mum knows about Bobbys thoughts, might not be true.



theexternvoid
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18 Jan 2011, 8:32 am

I have trouble with the writing. Too many British-isms. Over here in America... A mum is a flower, not a mother. "Spelt" is a grain, not the past tense of "spell." (Sounds like the King James Bible!) And how can chocolate spoil a cup of tea? Luckily I know it really meant dinner, but it still distracts me to read stuff like that, need to stop my train of thought and think twice about what it means.

And some of the grammer! It's "have gotten," not "have got." It's "Mrs. Brown," not "Mrs Brown." And "Class 4 was," not "Class 4 were" since there is only one class and thus the verb should be singular, not plural. Or are these also British-isms? :(



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18 Jan 2011, 9:14 am

My main difficulty was to follow the stories.

However, the fact that we know that we are solving "theory of mind" questions could distort the results.



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18 Jan 2011, 10:33 am

This is something I copied and pasted here from another post. There is evidence of theory of mind in here.

Quote:
I recall as a kid at around 7, I knew I was going to get into trouble with my mischief of touching and playing with "verboten things."

I broke the rule and span the hands around on an analogue clock, and the hands ( the hour & minute hand) fell in gravity to a 'down 6 O'clock position.'..... broke
I sat outside in a lawn chair in the front yard thinking or scheming of how I was going to circumvent a possible slap.
Aha, , I knew if someone came over it would break the spell , so I arranged my grandmother to visit us when my mother came home from work.
Now knowing my mothers behavior , as if something would distract her , would break the bad mood spell and she'd forget about it.... no later reprisals. I saw her do it before in an incidental occurence.


Would this anecdote ^ make it unlikely that one is on the spectrum? Attwood in the Complete guide to Asperger's Syndrome speaks of a different developed theory of mind that one can acquire through observation.
That being said, is this age here( 7) too early for this 'development?'

Any insight here on this ? (Looking for evidence.)



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18 Jan 2011, 11:21 am

It's dishonest. Completely dishonest and I've been calling it dishonest for a long time.

It's already shown that the biggest reason that autistic children do badly on the basic ToM tests is language. They involve some of the hardest language constructions in the English language. Given a non-language ToM test, autistic children either do as well as, or even slightly outperform, nonautistic children. See:

http://psych.wisc.edu/lang/pdf/Gernsbac ... odules.pdf

And before I ever knew of the above paper, I noticed that the supposed second-order, third-order, and fourth-order so-called "theory of mind" tests, are simply more and more complex language and cognitive constructions. They require a whole lot of cognitive multitasking (something most if not all autistic people are bad at) as well as a high level of language understanding (something that many autistic people are bad at).

All the researchers have done is say "see, autistic people seem to have theory of mind, and so let's find something that trips most autistic people up and call it a theory of mind task." At least that's what it looks like from my perspective. If they didn't do that intentionally, it's certainly what they did in reality. It really disgusts me too, that rather than acknowledging that most autistic people have theory of mind, they simply add more and more complex linguistic and cognitive constructs until something, anything, makes it hard for us to do the task. So then we can be said to lack theory of mind again. I hate it. And I hate that so many people buy into it despite the evidence in the other direction.

Oh, and I find them all confusing, but I know for a fact that I know that other people have minds and that other people have thoughts different than my own (therefore I have theory of mind no matter what some researcher says -- OTOH I have pretty intense receptive language and multitasking problems).


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18 Jan 2011, 11:34 am

All those pronouns!! This is bad writing. Deliberately confusing. And keeping track of the characters is difficult, too. "He", "she", random names... there are no intrinsic meanings to those words! This has much more to do with how well you can keep track of people, their names, and their actions simultaneously than it has to do with what you can guess about another person's state of mind. It reminds me of those deliberately badly-written questions on the GRE...

I can do all the questions up to 4th order, but only if I treat it as a logic puzzle. It's about as difficult as solving a calculus problem.


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18 Jan 2011, 12:14 pm

anbuend wrote:
It's dishonest. Completely dishonest and I've been calling it dishonest for a long time.

It's already shown that the biggest reason that autistic children do badly on the basic ToM tests is language. They involve some of the hardest language constructions in the English language. Given a non-language ToM test, autistic children either do as well as, or even slightly outperform, nonautistic children. See:

http://psych.wisc.edu/lang/pdf/Gernsbac ... odules.pdf

And before I ever knew of the above paper, I noticed that the supposed second-order, third-order, and fourth-order so-called "theory of mind" tests, are simply more and more complex language and cognitive constructions. They require a whole lot of cognitive multitasking (something most if not all autistic people are bad at) as well as a high level of language understanding (something that many autistic people are bad at).

Got to say that's a very plausible explanation for why I've never noticed a problem with my own "theory of mind." I felt no trouble with the test at all, apart from converting the printed words into thoughts. I've read that Aspies never get the Sally Ann test right until they're over 11 years old, yet I recall no problem at all in that area........I can even remember telling Mum that I loved her better than I loved Dad, a deliberate lie to ingratiate myself, when I was no older than 7. My ploy backfired, but the basic reasoning was sound enough. So much for Aspie being unable to lie because of having no ToM. Before this post, I took all this as one of the few bits of evidence that I might not have AS after all. Which was kind of weird because most of the other evidence says I've got it.



grad_girl
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18 Jan 2011, 12:27 pm

Ah, interesting... The Britishisms don't bother me at all (nor did the grammar), but I'll admit that constructions like "A thinks that B believes than C thinks ..." give just about everyone, NT or AS, a headache. On the other hand, I find that somewhere in my head there's a little flow-chart that lets visualize what that means without having to think too hard. Anyone else feel that way?



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18 Jan 2011, 12:45 pm

theexternvoid wrote:
I have trouble with the writing. Too many British-isms. Over here in America... A mum is a flower, not a mother. "Spelt" is a grain, not the past tense of "spell." (Sounds like the King James Bible!) And how can chocolate spoil a cup of tea? Luckily I know it really meant dinner, but it still distracts me to read stuff like that, need to stop my train of thought and think twice about what it means.

And some of the grammer! It's "have gotten," not "have got." It's "Mrs. Brown," not "Mrs Brown." And "Class 4 was," not "Class 4 were" since there is only one class and thus the verb should be singular, not plural. Or are these also British-isms? :(


Yes, those are Britishisms. Well, not sure about "Mrs Brown", as far as the distribution of that variation, but I know it's a valid variation. The other two I've definitely read about as being British usage. As far as "Class 4 were", British are much more likely than Americans to use a plural verb when talking about a group described with a singular noun.


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18 Jan 2011, 1:16 pm

Callista wrote:
All those pronouns!! This is bad writing. Deliberately confusing. And keeping track of the characters is difficult, too. "He", "she", random names... there are no intrinsic meanings to those words! This has much more to do with how well you can keep track of people, their names, and their actions simultaneously than it has to do with what you can guess about another person's state of mind. It reminds me of those deliberately badly-written questions on the GRE...

I can do all the questions up to 4th order, but only if I treat it as a logic puzzle. It's about as difficult as solving a calculus problem.


yes, the questions are atrociously written. I found that very annoying. I could answer these, but I'm a speed reader whose comprehension skills have always been far above average, and well above what is thought typical of people on the spectrum. And even I had trouble reading them because they were poorly written.

I would say my theory of mind lagged considerably until I was a teen. Between ages 14 and 30 is when I was "catching up" to my peers. I was dx at age 27, and that helped me make the last leap in my theory of mind development. Now I would think I'm normal and have a well-developed theory of mind,,although judging by how stupid other people seem to be to me these days--both NTs and people on the spectrum--I question if painfully poor theory of mind is more normal than the level I'm presently at.



theexternvoid
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18 Jan 2011, 2:07 pm

So what are the answers?



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18 Jan 2011, 2:13 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:
anbuend wrote:
It's dishonest. Completely dishonest and I've been calling it dishonest for a long time.

It's already shown that the biggest reason that autistic children do badly on the basic ToM tests is language. They involve some of the hardest language constructions in the English language. Given a non-language ToM test, autistic children either do as well as, or even slightly outperform, nonautistic children. See:

http://psych.wisc.edu/lang/pdf/Gernsbac ... odules.pdf

And before I ever knew of the above paper, I noticed that the supposed second-order, third-order, and fourth-order so-called "theory of mind" tests, are simply more and more complex language and cognitive constructions. They require a whole lot of cognitive multitasking (something most if not all autistic people are bad at) as well as a high level of language understanding (something that many autistic people are bad at).

Got to say that's a very plausible explanation for why I've never noticed a problem with my own "theory of mind." I felt no trouble with the test at all, apart from converting the printed words into thoughts. I've read that Aspies never get the Sally Ann test right until they're over 11 years old, yet I recall no problem at all in that area........I can even remember telling Mum that I loved her better than I loved Dad, a deliberate lie to ingratiate myself, when I was no older than 7. My ploy backfired, but the basic reasoning was sound enough. So much for Aspie being unable to lie because of having no ToM. Before this post, I took all this as one of the few bits of evidence that I might not have AS after all. Which was kind of weird because most of the other evidence says I've got it.


Question answered 8)



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18 Jan 2011, 2:18 pm

Mysty wrote:
theexternvoid wrote:
I have trouble with the writing. Too many British-isms. Over here in America... A mum is a flower, not a mother. "Spelt" is a grain, not the past tense of "spell." (Sounds like the King James Bible!) And how can chocolate spoil a cup of tea? Luckily I know it really meant dinner, but it still distracts me to read stuff like that, need to stop my train of thought and think twice about what it means.

And some of the grammer! It's "have gotten," not "have got." It's "Mrs. Brown," not "Mrs Brown." And "Class 4 was," not "Class 4 were" since there is only one class and thus the verb should be singular, not plural. Or are these also British-isms? :(


Yes, those are Britishisms. Well, not sure about "Mrs Brown", as far as the distribution of that variation, but I know it's a valid variation. The other two I've definitely read about as being British usage. As far as "Class 4 were", British are much more likely than Americans to use a plural verb when talking about a group described with a singular noun.


Yes, those are all Britishisms, including "Mrs Brown" and "Class 4 were."


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