By Francesca Happé
This name is meant for complex undergraduate and masters point scholars in psychology; expert scientific, developmental and academic psychologists; common practitioners and others with a unique curiosity in young children; careworkers; and fogeys of autistic little ones.
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Extra resources for Autism: An Introduction to Psychological Theory
Neurobiological issues in autism. New York: Plenum Press. Chapter 5 Autism at the cognitive level: understanding minds Good and bad theories What work must a theory do for us? How can a theory open our eyes to facts, and how can we avoid being blinded by our preconceived notions? A good theory must do a number of things: – it must make concrete predictions, which can be tested; – it must go beyond the evidence, and do more than describe; – it must be specific and yet fit with what we know generally.
Localizing higher cognitive functions (such as the social, communication and imagination skills impaired in autism) is always problematic. To date a number of different brain regions have been suggested as the site of damage, including the cerebellum (involved in motor coordination) and the limbic system (involved in emotion regulation). Autopsy studies, usually involving only a handful of subjects, have provided some evidence of abnormalities in the cerebellum, including significant reductions in Purkinje cell density compared with normal controls (Ritvo et al.
Along with the standard memory and reality control questions. Three-year-old children in this experiment demonstrated some understanding of minds—they said that Ann believed what she said, and that Sally too would believe it. So although they failed to comprehend the intended deception (which 4-year-olds recognized), they did in fact attribute a false belief By contrast, the subjects with autism took no account of the characters’ mental states at all, giving reality-based answers to both questions (Ann and Sally think the chocolate is where it really is—in Ann’s box).