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Introducing MASC: A Movie for the Assessment of Social Cognition

  • Isabel Dziobek
  • Stefan Fleck
  • Elke Kalbe
  • Kimberley Rogers
  • Jason Hassenstab
  • Matthias Brand
  • Josef Kessler
  • Jan K. Woike
  • Oliver T. Wolf
  • Antonio Convit
Original Paper

Abstract

In the present study we introduce a sensitive video-based test for the evaluation of subtle mindreading difficulties: the Movie for the Assessment of Social Cognition (MASC). This new mindreading tool involves watching a short film and answering questions referring to the actors’ mental states. A group of adults with Asperger syndrome (n = 19) and well-matched control subjects (n = 20) were administered the MASC and three other mindreading tools as part of a broader neuropsychological testing session. Compared to control subjects, Asperger individuals exhibited marked and selective difficulties in social cognition. A Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) analysis for the mindreading tests identified the MASC as discriminating the diagnostic groups most accurately. Issues pertaining to the multidimensionality of the social cognition construct are discussed.

Keywords

Asperger syndrome Theory of Mind Mindreading Naturalistic test formats Emotion recognition 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was funded by a grant from the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR). It was completed partially toward the first author’s Ph.D. dissertation at the University Bielefeld, which was supported with a training grant by the Cusanuswerk, Germany. The development of the MASC was, in part, supported by the Max-Planck-Institute for Neurological Research and Köln Fortune, Cologne, Germany. We are grateful to the participants and their families for volunteering for the study and we thank the great number of people who donated their time and dedication to the project. Our special thanks goes to Jonathan Bepler.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabel Dziobek
    • 1
    • 3
  • Stefan Fleck
    • 4
  • Elke Kalbe
    • 2
  • Kimberley Rogers
    • 6
  • Jason Hassenstab
    • 1
  • Matthias Brand
    • 5
  • Josef Kessler
    • 2
  • Jan K. Woike
    • 7
  • Oliver T. Wolf
    • 3
  • Antonio Convit
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Brain HealthNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyUniversity Clinic CologneCologneGermany
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BielefeldBielefeldGermany
  4. 4.Department of Neuroscience and RehabilitationUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  5. 5.Department of Physiological PsychologyUniversity of BielefeldBielefeldGermany
  6. 6.Department of Psychology at the Graduate Center of CityUniversity of New York (CUNY)New YorkUSA
  7. 7.Department of Psychological MethodologyRuhr-University of BochumBochumGermany

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