Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 487–498

Perspective-taking ability and its relationship to the social behavior of autistic children

  • Geraldine Dawson
  • Margaret Fernald

DOI: 10.1007/BF01486965

Cite this article as:
Dawson, G. & Fernald, M. J Autism Dev Disord (1987) 17: 487. doi:10.1007/BF01486965


A study was undertaken to assess the relationship between perspective-taking ability and the quality of social behavior in autistic children. Sixteen autistic children ranging from 6 to 14 years of age were administered three types of perspective-taking tasks (perceptual, conceptual, and affective), as well as the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test and the Leiter International Performance Scale. Two measures of social behavior were taken: the Vineland Social Maturity Scale and the Social Behavior Rating Scale, designed for the present study. It was found that perspective-taking ability was significantly correlated with both measures of social skills, whereas receptive vocabulary and nonverbal intelligence were not. These results suggest that the social impairments of autistic children may be related to specific deficits in social cognition.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geraldine Dawson
    • 1
  • Margaret Fernald
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North Carolina at Chapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, NI-25University of WashingtonSeattle