Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 577–586 | Cite as

A second look at second-order belief attribution in autism

  • Helen Tager-Flusberg
  • Kate Sullivan


Compared the performance of autistic and mentally retarded subjects, all of whom had passed a standard first-order test of false belief, on a new second-order belief task 12 autistic and 12 mentally retarded subjects, matched on verbal mental age (assessed by PPVT and a sentence comprehension subtest of the CELF) and full-scale IQ were given two trials of a second-order reasoning task which was significantly shorter and less complex than the standard task used in all previous research. The majority of subjects in both groups passed the new task, and were able to give appropriate justifications to their responses. No group differences were found in performance on the control or test questions. Findings are interpreted as evidence for the role of information processing factors rather than conceptual factors in performance on higher order theory of mind tasks.


School Psychology Processing Factor Order Theory Test Question Reasoning Task 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Tager-Flusberg
    • 1
  • Kate Sullivan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MassachusettsBoston

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