Does everyone with ASD have theory of mind issues?

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starfox
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13 Jun 2015, 5:38 pm

I think I'm quite similar to you Joe90; except that I'm not very tactful and tend to be blunt. Usually I don't know though until I'm told off for it :-/


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Marybird
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13 Jun 2015, 6:03 pm

That may be why your diagnostician said you had some ToM issues.



nick007
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13 Jun 2015, 6:48 pm

I defiantly have issues with it.


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Jensen
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14 Jun 2015, 3:35 am

Is it an aspect of failing TOM, if I often catch other subtleties and micro-expressions, than the rest of the company? 8O At least I often read different aspects and have my own focus - and end up outside of the group conversation.


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jimmyboy76453
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14 Jun 2015, 6:02 am

Yes, I guess I do, but I didn't know there was a name for it. There are lots of times when I have no idea why someone is doing what they are doing. Sometimes when I'm watching a movie or reading a book, I get really lost because I don't know what the characters are doing or why. If I can read the book a few times, I can usually figure most of it out.


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Joe90
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14 Jun 2015, 6:13 am

Marybird wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
Most Aspies just think that the best thing to do is be blunt about everything,.


The reason for aspies being blunt is not because they think it's the best thing to do.
It's likely to have to do with being literally minded and not having good ToM.
I's not a choice, but something one has to learn not to do.


That also, but often I've seen Aspies here say that they prefer to be blunt and honest all the time and wish everybody was the same.


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Kiriae
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14 Jun 2015, 9:04 am

I know I have Theory of mind deficits.

For example:

There is a guy that likes me. One day he texted me he wants to visit my house in a few days to get water refill because he is planning a whole day bike trip and my house in halfway to where he wants to go. I took it literally - it's whole day trip, it's summer, he will probably get rid of water by the time he passes the city I live in so it's only natural he is looking for a place where he can refill water and my house is convenient. So I agreed.

Later on I told my dad the guy is going to visit me for a short time because he is going on a whole day trip and wants water refill in middle of way. My dad laughed: "He doesn't want water refill. If he wanted he would refill or buy it at any gas station. He wants to see you and water refill is just an excuse." and then I understood. It was quite logical but I couldn't come to this conclusion by myself.

I wondered why he wants to go a kilometer away from the main road to go to my house but I figured it must be a quirk of his. I don't understand the guy at all - there is no way I would ever go on 100kms bike trip with 30kg backpack(containing a tent) but he does it regularly so I decided not to question his choices. My understanding of other people motives rely heavily on my personal decision making processes. If someone is happy doing something I would never do I cannot understand his thinking processes at all so I take everything he says for granted because I cannot imagine what else might be on his mind.



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14 Jun 2015, 9:58 am

I don't really understand what theory of mind is so I don't know if I have problem with it or not



ToughDiamond
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14 Jun 2015, 1:47 pm

Jacoby wrote:
I don't really understand what theory of mind is so I don't know if I have problem with it or not

Me neither, I've got some grasp of the concept, but I don't really know.

Is there a good online test for adults out there?

Is it even possible to assess TOM in the comfort and safety of my own space like that, or does it have a speed of response element like IQ?

My biggest question is, can anybody explain clearly and completely what it is? I get this Sally-Ann test, but I'm sure I'd pass that, and I expect most ASD adults would too.

Meanwhile, my best guess is that I've improved a lot over the years but still wouldn't score high on a good test.



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14 Jun 2015, 3:28 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:
Jacoby wrote:
I don't really understand what theory of mind is so I don't know if I have problem with it or not

Me neither, I've got some grasp of the concept, but I don't really know.

Is there a good online test for adults out there?

Is it even possible to assess TOM in the comfort and safety of my own space like that, or does it have a speed of response element like IQ?

My biggest question is, can anybody explain clearly and completely what it is? I get this Sally-Ann test, but I'm sure I'd pass that, and I expect most ASD adults would too.

Meanwhile, my best guess is that I've improved a lot over the years but still wouldn't score high on a good test.


Theory of mind:
Quote:
Theory of mind (often abbreviated ToM) is the ability to attribute mental states — beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc. — to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are different from one's own. Deficits occur in people with autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as neurotoxicity due to alcohol abuse.


In my last assessment, also mind-blindness and context-blindness was pointed out as being impaired, but I guess it is all somehow interconnected.

mind-blindness:
Quote:
Mind-blindness can be described as a cognitive disorder where an individual is unable to attribute mental states to the self and other. As a result of this disorder the individual is unaware of others' mental states. The individual is also not capable of attributing beliefs and desires to others. This ability to develop a mental awareness of what is in the mind of an individual is known as the Theory of Mind (ToM). This allows one to attribute our behaviour and actions to various mental states such as emotions and intentions. Mind-blindness is associated with autism and Asperger's syndrome (AS) patients who tend to show deficits in social insight. In addition to autism, AS, and schizophrenia, ToM and mind-blindness research has recently been extended to other disorders such as dementia, bi-polar disorders, anti social personality disorders as well as normal aging.


context-blindness:
Quote:
Autism as Context Blindness
Research into the role of context in human information processing has revealed that contextual sensitivity is crucial in exactly those areas known to be affected in autism: social interaction, communication, and flexibility in thoughts and behavior. This has led to the hypothesis of context blindness as the common pathway in the cognitive deficits in autism. Interestingly, lack of contextual sensitivity can account for many of the cognitive assets in autism such as the ability to think logically without being disturbed by contextual elements (e.g., emotions).

Context blindness refers to a reduced spontaneous use of context when giving meaning to a stimulus. To put it more simply: the autistic brain thinks in an absolute way, rather than a relative, contextually defined way. Remember the scene in the movie, Rain Man, where Raymond is trying to cross a street? In Raymond’s mind when the sign displays “Don’t walk,” it means only one thing: “Don’t walk.” We laugh when the sign changes from “Walk” to “Don’t walk” and Raymond stops in the middle of the intersection. Raymond does not understand that “Don’t walk” means many different things, depending on the situation or context. When you’re halfway through the crossing, it means “hurry up” instead!


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olympiadis
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14 Jun 2015, 3:52 pm

Eloa wrote:
Context blindness refers to a reduced spontaneous use of context when giving meaning to a stimulus. To put it more simply: the autistic brain thinks in an absolute way, rather than a relative, contextually defined way.



I find this part very interesting as I've never seen it put quite like that.
I have described it as filtering the real world from the conceptual world.

This also bothers me a lot for a few reasons. For example, why should I change how I logically deduce the real world based on someone else re-defining the context?
Whatever meanings I would assign to things would be based on the desires generated in the brains of other people.

This seems like a system set up for manipulation and control of others.



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14 Jun 2015, 6:16 pm

Eloa wrote:

Theory of mind:
Quote:
Theory of mind (often abbreviated ToM) is the ability to attribute mental states — beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc. — to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives [bold]that are different from one's own[/bold]. Deficits occur in people with autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as neurotoxicity due to alcohol abuse.


In my last assessment, also mind-blindness and context-blindness was pointed out as being impaired, but I guess it is all somehow interconnected.

mind-blindness:
Quote:
Mind-blindness can be described as a cognitive disorder where an individual is unable to attribute mental states to the self and other. As a result of this disorder the individual is unaware of others' mental states. The individual is also not capable of attributing beliefs and desires to others. This ability to develop a mental awareness of what is in the mind of an individual is known as the Theory of Mind (ToM). This allows one to attribute our behaviour and actions to various mental states such as emotions and intentions. Mind-blindness is associated with autism and Asperger's syndrome (AS) patients who tend to show deficits in social insight. In addition to autism, AS, and schizophrenia, ToM and mind-blindness research has recently been extended to other disorders such as dementia, bi-polar disorders, anti social personality disorders as well as normal aging.


Thanks for the info, and I'm sure you're more than correct about TOM and mind-blindness being interconnected - in fact judging by the bits I highlighted in bold, they're either identical or very nearly identical.

So, can I now answer the OP's question? No I can't. I'm sure I often assign mental states to people, but I don't know whether I do that any better or worse than "normal" people do. I've often noticed that people in general can seem pretty useless at doing that, so much so that I suspect I might even knock them into a cocked hat if I were to compete against them in a test, but I've also often noticed that the contents of people's minds can seem very mysterious to me, and that I tend to consider things I know should be obvious to everybody.

So I think I'd need to take a well-designed TOM test to be able to answer.



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14 Jun 2015, 6:50 pm

olympiadis wrote:
Eloa wrote:
Context blindness refers to a reduced spontaneous use of context when giving meaning to a stimulus. To put it more simply: the autistic brain thinks in an absolute way, rather than a relative, contextually defined way.



I find this part very interesting as I've never seen it put quite like that.

Ditto


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14 Jun 2015, 7:03 pm

olympiadis wrote:
Eloa wrote:
Context blindness refers to a reduced spontaneous use of context when giving meaning to a stimulus. To put it more simply: the autistic brain thinks in an absolute way, rather than a relative, contextually defined way.



I find this part very interesting as I've never seen it put quite like that.

Is this what they mean by Black and White thinking?



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14 Jun 2015, 9:13 pm

olympiadis wrote:
Eloa wrote:
Context blindness refers to a reduced spontaneous use of context when giving meaning to a stimulus. To put it more simply: the autistic brain thinks in an absolute way, rather than a relative, contextually defined way.



I find this part very interesting as I've never seen it put quite like that.
I have described it as filtering the real world from the conceptual world.

This also bothers me a lot for a few reasons. For example, why should I change how I logically deduce the real world based on someone else re-defining the context?
Whatever meanings I would assign to things would be based on the desires generated in the brains of other people.

This seems like a system set up for manipulation and control of others.


Interesting. I was just thinking that in the example they gave, of crossing the road and stopping halfway across because the sign said "don't walk," the implication is that the Rain Man interpreted it wrong, which in a sense he did, but another sense, the sign is wrong. In fact, ironically enough, it could well be argued that whoever designed those street signs had an impaired theory of mind, because they don't seem to have put themselves in the pedestrian's shoes and they never realised how misleading their words could be.

In the UK we have a different sign which has no words - you normally cross when the light goes green, and the next thing you get is a flashing green light. By the time you get a red light, you'd usually have arrived safely at the other side. It's not perfect, but I think it's an improvement. Another related oddity: I heard that in some parts of the US it's an offense to cross while the light says don't cross, even if there's no traffic around. Over here, such "informal crossing" isn't punished. Not that I'm saying the law is never an ass(pie) in the UK.

But I don't think that overcoming "context-blindness" would necessarily make me easier to control. I would know what other people wanted, but that doesn't mean I'd give it to them, because I'd still have my own desires. I don't think it'd be a case of substituting information about the desires of others for my own grasp of the world, it'd be a case of adding information to what I already know.