Event Schemas in Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Role of Theory of Mind and Weak Central Coherence

E. Loth, Juan-Carlos Gomez, F Happé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Event schemas (generalized knowledge of what happens at common real-life events, e.g., a birthday party) are an important cognitive tool for social understanding: They provide structure for social experiences while accounting for many variable aspects. Using an event narratives task, this study tested the hypotheses that theory of mind (ToM) deficits and weak central coherence (WCC, a local processing bias) undermine different aspects of event knowledge in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Event narratives of ASD ToM-failers were overall significantly impaired. ASD ToM-passers showed more specific abnormalities relating to variable activities, and some of these were significantly associated to WCC. Abnormalities in event knowledge might help linking ASD-typical social deficits in real-life situations and the adherence to inflexible routines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-463
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008

Keywords

  • autism spectrum disorders
  • theory of mind
  • event schemas
  • scripts
  • weak central coherence
  • narratives
  • ASPERGER-SYNDROME
  • FUNCTIONING AUTISM
  • STORY CHARACTERS
  • JOINT ATTENTION
  • COGNITIVE-STYLE
  • VERBAL-ABILITY
  • DOWN-SYNDROME
  • CHILDREN
  • INDIVIDUALS
  • TASK

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