Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 643–650 | Cite as

Delayed Self-recognition in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Sophie E. Lind
  • Dermot M. Bowler
Original Paper


This study aimed to investigate temporally extended self-awareness (awareness of one’s place in and continued existence through time) in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), using the delayed self-recognition (DSR) paradigm (Povinelli et al., Child Development 67:1540–1554, 1996). Relative to age and verbal ability matched comparison children, children with ASD showed unattenuated performance on the DSR task, despite showing significant impairments in theory-of-mind task performance, and a reduced propensity to use personal pronouns to refer to themselves. The results may indicate intact temporally extended self-awareness in ASD. However, it may be that the DSR task is not an unambiguous measure of temporally extended self-awareness and it can be passed through strategies which do not require the possession of a temporally extended self-concept.


Autism spectrum disorder Metarepresentation Self-awareness Self-concept Self-recognition Theory-of-mind 



This research was supported by a City University Ph.D. Studentship awarded to the first author. The manuscript was prepared during a Postdoctoral fellowship awarded to the first author by Autism Speaks. We would like to thank the following schools for their participation in this research: Bensham Manor, Brent Knoll, Hillingdon Manor, Kilmorie, Linden Bridge, Southmead, Pendragon, St. Winifred’s, The Park, and West Wimbledon. Many thanks to David Williams for comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCity UniversityLondonUK

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