Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 29–36 | Cite as

Advanced Theory of Mind in High-Functioning Adults with Autism

  • Jamie Kleinman
  • Paul L. Marciano
  • Ruth L. Ault


Twenty-four high-functioning adults with autism (16 men) who passed a first-order theory-of-mind task and 24 nonautistic adults (10 men) attributed mental states to recordings of various verbal intonations and to photos of people's eyes to assess advanced theory of mind. Participants with autism performed significantly worse than nonautistic participants on both tasks. Thus, the previously described inattention to others' eyes exhibited by adults with autism is not solely responsible for their inability to attribute mental states from eyes, as they also did not correctly attribute mental states from voices. These findings support the view that a core deficit for people with autism lies in their theory of mind, that is, their inability to attribute mental states to others.

Autism theory of mind adults 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jamie Kleinman
    • 1
  • Paul L. Marciano
    • 1
  • Ruth L. Ault
    • 1
  1. 1.Davidson CollegeDavidson

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