Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 225–236

The Awkward Moments Test: A Naturalistic Measure of Social Understanding in Autism

  • Lisa Heavey
  • Wendy Phillips
  • Simon Baron-Cohen
  • Michael Rutter

DOI: 10.1023/A:1005544518785

Cite this article as:
Heavey, L., Phillips, W., Baron-Cohen, S. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2000) 30: 225. doi:10.1023/A:1005544518785


Details are given of a new advanced theory of mind task, developed to approximate the demands of real-life mentalizing in able individuals with autism. Excerpts of films showing characters in social situations were presented, with participants required to answer questions on characters' mental states and on control, nonsocial questions. When compared with control participants, adults with high-functioning autism and Asperger syndrome were most impaired in their ability to answer the questions requiring mind-reading ability. Although the present findings have implications for task modification, such naturalistic, dynamic stimuli are held to offer an important means of studying subtle difficulties in mentalistic understanding.

Theory of mind mind-reading ability 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa Heavey
    • 1
  • Wendy Phillips
    • 2
  • Simon Baron-Cohen
    • 3
  • Michael Rutter
    • 4
  1. 1.MRC Child Psychiatry UnitInstitute of PsychiatryLondonEngland
  2. 2.South Warwickshire Combined Care Nhsationed Health Service TrustEngland
  3. 3.University of CambridgeCambridgeUnited Kingdom
  4. 4.MRC Child Psychiatry UnitInstitute of PsychiatryLondonEngland

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