Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 373–382 | Cite as

Faux Pas Detection and Intentional Action in Asperger Syndrome. A Replication on a French Sample

  • Tiziana Zalla
  • Anca-Maria Sav
  • Astrid Stopin
  • Sabrina Ahade
  • Marion Leboyer
Original Paper


In the present study, we investigated mindreading abilities in a group of adults with Asperger Syndrome (AS) by using the faux pas task, an advanced test of theory of mind (Baron-Cohen et al. (1999). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 29, 407–418). The faux pas is a particular case of a non-intentional action reflecting an involuntary socially inappropriate behavior. Here, individuals with AS over-detected faux pas stories, failed to provide correct justifications of the speaker’s behavior and were unaware of the mistaken belief and of the resulting emotional impact, whereas they appeared to be responsive to social rule violations. We hypothesized that because of an impaired theory-of-mind, individuals with AS may develop compensatory cognitive strategies based on overlearned abstract knowledge about normative rules.


Mindreading Empathy Intentional action Moral judgment Theory of mind 



The authors wish to thank Dick Carter, Emmanuel Dupoux, Pierre Jacob, Joshua Knobe and two anonymous reviewers for very helpful comments on an earlier draft of the article. The authors are also grateful the Autism Research Centre for providing test materials. This work was made possible by the Fondation Orange and the Fondation FondaMental.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiziana Zalla
    • 1
  • Anca-Maria Sav
    • 2
  • Astrid Stopin
    • 3
  • Sabrina Ahade
    • 3
  • Marion Leboyer
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut Jean Nicod, CNRSEcole Normale SupérieureParisFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire EA 2027, Equipe de recherche en psychologie cliniqueUniversité Paris VIIIParisFrance
  3. 3.Hôpital Chenevier-Mondor & INSERM, U841CreteilFrance

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