Cognitive Psychology - Baron-Cohen (1997)

Robyn Chamberlain
Mind Map by Robyn Chamberlain , updated more than 1 year ago
Robyn Chamberlain
Created by Robyn Chamberlain about 6 years ago
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A-Level Psychology (AS - 15 Core Studies (OCR)) Mind Map on Cognitive Psychology - Baron-Cohen (1997), created by Robyn Chamberlain on 04/08/2014.

Resource summary

Cognitive Psychology - Baron-Cohen (1997)

Annotations:

  • Baron-Cohen, Joliffe, Mortimore and Robertson.
1 Background
1.1 Autism - People who are unable or have difficulty communicating. It is believed that they have no theory of mind. They are diagnosed with having a 'triad of impairments' - dfficulty with: Social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and a lack of imagination.
1.2 Theory of Mind - The ability to understand complex states and emotions in other people and the fact that they have these thoughts and feelings (understand why they have these emotions).
2 Aim
2.1 To test the hypothesis that autistic adults lack advance Theory of Mind skills and to provide vast amount of evidence for this hypothesis.
3 Participants/Sample
3.1 3 Groups
3.1.1 (Experimental) 16 adults with high functioning Autism (4) or Asperges Syndrome (12)

Annotations:

  • - 13 males and 3 females. - Mean IQ 105.31
3.1.1.1 Self-selected

Annotations:

  • From a National Autistic Society Magazine.
3.1.2 (Control) 50 'normal' age-matched adults

Annotations:

  • 25 males and 25 females. IQ was meant to be above 85.
3.1.2.1 Random

Annotations:

  • From the general population of Cambridge
3.1.3 (Control) 10 age matched adults with Tourette's Syndrome

Annotations:

  • - 8 males and 2 females - Mean IQ 103.5
3.1.3.1 Opportunistic

Annotations:

  • They were all attending a referal meeting in London.
4 Method
4.1 Quasi-Experiment
4.2 Self-Report
4.3 Independent Measures Design
5 Procedure
5.1 Each participant was tested in four tests in a random order.

Annotations:

  • To evade order effects
5.1.1 Eye Test

Annotations:

  • Procedure -  Participants were shown 25 photos of eyes, for 3 seconds each, on black and white 15x10cm paper. - Forced choice (target or foil) individually in a quiet room.
  • Advance Theory of mind Task
5.1.2 Happe Strange Story's

Annotations:

  • Advance Theory of mind Task
  • Series of stories in which the group has to determine if the story is realistically probable or not.
5.1.3 Gender Recognition

Annotations:

  • Control Task
5.1.4 Emotion Test

Annotations:

  • Control Task
5.2 Control Tasks

Annotations:

  • -Gender Recognition -Basic Emotion recognition
5.3 Tested either in a quiet room at a researchers clinic or in their own homes.
6 Findings
6.1 Eye Task Results
6.2 Gender Recognition Results
6.3 Females are better at the eye task than males.

Annotations:

  • Suggesting that females have a more advanced theory of mind then males.
  • Results: Female - 21.8 mean Male - 18.8 mean
6.4 Both control groups performed better than the experimental group in the Eye Task and the Happe's Stranger stories.

Annotations:

  • The Tourette's syndrome control group made no mistakes in the Happe strange stores task.
6.5 There were no differences between the conditions in the gender and emotion recognition tests.

Annotations:

  • The Gender Recognition and Emotion test's were control test and were not testing advance theory of mind.
6.6 Type of data

Annotations:

  • Quantitative (as the tables show)
6.7 Normal participants - Male and Female
6.7.1 Eye Task mean score: Females - 21.8, Males 18.8
6.7.2 Gender Recognition mean score: Female 23.8, Males 24.0.
7 Conclusion
7.1 Despite having an above or higher than average IQ, those with autism/asperges performed badly in the advanced theory of mind tasks suggesting that they lack in AToM.

Annotations:

  • AVoM - Advance Theory of Mind
7.1.1 Could not have been down to intelligence as their IQ proves.
7.1.2 Could not have been down to development of neuropsychiatric disability since those with Tourettes syndrome were not unimpaired on the task.
7.2 Researchers claim the Eye Task is a valid measure of AToM because -
7.2.1 The target words were mental state words.
7.2.2 The target words included terms describing mental state, suggesting that it is not just an emotion perception task.
7.2.3 Results mirrored the pattern of performance on Happe's strange stories - Another AToM task.
7.2.4 Results were not mirrored in the control task, suggesting that the Autism/Asperge participants poor performance was not due to the stimuli being eyes or basic emotion recognition.
7.3 Gender differentiation in the Eye Task reflects possible differences in the rate of development of theory of mind during early childhood. It also may mirror the female superiority in language development.
8 Usefulness
8.1 This study outlines the fact that those with autism or asperges syndrome lack when it comes to AToM.

Annotations:

  • Which gives us knowledge on how to help educate and interact with those with Autism and Asperge Syndrome.
9 Weaknesses
9.1 Representivity

Annotations:

  • Only a small amount of adults were used in the clinical groups groups. 16 for Autism 10 for Tourette's Syndrome (This is not representative)
9.2 Disadvantage

Annotations:

  • Those with Autism or Asperges Syndrome are characterised with not maintaining eye contact with others which puts them at a disadvantage in the eye task.
9.3 Low Ecological Validity

Annotations:

  • Being in a laboratory experiment means that it is not in a natural enviroment in which the groups would view someone who is displaying emotions.
9.4 Ethics

Annotations:

  • Those with autism normally have a schedule in which their lives revolve around , this study distrupted that schedule and it was reported that multiple people within the experimental group were distressed and upset.
9.5 Validity

Annotations:

  • The experimental group did get some of the responses correct, weakening the conclusion that all people with autism and asperges lack an AToM.
  • To improve this, an analysis of what they got right and wrong could help the validity as it may give a pattern as to what those with the disorders find difficult identifying.
10 Vairables
10.1 (IV) Independant Variable

Annotations:

  • Which group they were in; - Adults with high fuctioning Autistic/Asperges - Normal adults - Adults with Tourettes Syndrome
10.2 (DV) Dependant Variables

Annotations:

  • Performance in the tests
11 Strengths
11.1 Validity

Annotations:

  • Both the Eye Task and the Happe's Strange stories are valid measure of AToM meaning this study is measuring what it aimed to be measuring and the results are in turn valid.
11.2 Useful

Annotations:

  • Establishes a link between a lack of AToM and those with Autism and Asperges Syndrome which means methods an now be developed to help them with their AToM skill within educational boundries and as they develop.
11.3 Controls

Annotations:

  • Laboratory experiment made it possible to control the variable and determine the 'cause&effect' of the results.
11.4 Quasi-Experiment

Annotations:

  • Variables occured naturally which improves the ecological validity.
11.5 Quantitative Data

Annotations:

  • Easy to analyse.
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