Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 38, Issue 8, pp 1591–1597 | Cite as

Brief Report: Do Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder Think They Know Their Own Minds?

  • Peter Mitchell
  • Kelly O’Keefe
Brief Report


How much do individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) think they know about their inner states? To find out, we asked 24 participants with ASD and 24 non-clinical participants to rate how well they knew about six topics of self knowledge; they also rated how well a comparison individual knew these things about them. Participants with ASD differed from the non-clinical participants in assigning about the same amount of knowledge to the comparison individual as to themselves. Non-clinical participants, in contrast, assigned relatively more knowledge to themselves. The findings are consistent with the possibility that individuals with ASD do not appreciate the value of having first-person privileged access to their own inner states.


Self knowledge Theory of mind Estimations Subjectivity 



We thank the National Autistic Society for assistance in recruiting participants and all the participating schools and colleges. We thank Ulrich Teucher for developing the question protocol in connection with ESRC project, RES-000-23-0386 and Fenja Ziegler for assistance with supervision.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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