Precursors to Theory of Mind in Infants At-Risk and Not-At-Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders Open Access

Factor, Reina Suzanne (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/4m90dw47n?locale=en
Published

Abstract

This study examined the presence of precursors to theory of mind in 63 infants at-risk and not-at-risk for autism spectrum disorder based on their performance on an early autism screener. The goal was to test the hypothesis that performance on precursors to theory of mind tasks may help indicate whether or not an infant is at-risk for an autism spectrum disorder. All participants were administered standardized tests to determine whether or not the infant was at-risk. They then received the 4 minute Rapid-ABC screener, which includes five activities, three of which incorporate physical occlusion tasks which measure precursors to theory of mind. Results indicated that there were differences in deficits in precursors to theory of mind abilities between the two groups. At-risk infants demonstrated more deficits on physical occlusion tasks than the control group on all tasks except for tickling, where there was no difference in group performance. Further, there was a correlation between performance on physical occlusion tasks and joint attention tasks in the at-risk infants. Trends in the correlations indicated a relationship between scores on the first visit physical occlusion performance and second visit physical occlusion scores. Finally, there were no significant differences in deficits based on age.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Abstract...v
Acknowledgements...vii
Introduction...2

Theory of Mind...2

Origin and purpose...2
Precursors to theory of mind...3
Theory of mind and looking time tasks...4
Theory of mind and visual occlusion tasks...5

Joint Attention...6

Pause tasks...8
Joint attention and theory of mind...9

Theory of mind and autism...9

Eye tracking and autism...12
Joint attention and autism...13
Early detection and diagnosis- The Rapid-ABC screener...14
Precursors to theory of mind in the Rapid-ABC...15
Hypotheses...16

Method...17

Participants...17

Measures...18

Parent-report checklists...18
Rapid-ABC...19

Procedures...21
Determination of risk status...22

Results...23
Discussion...27

Interpretation of findings...27
Limitations...33
Future directions...34
Conclusions...38

References...39
Figures and Tables...45

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
School
Department
Degree
Submission
Language
  • English
Research field
Keyword
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files