Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Imitation and 'theory of mind' competencies in discrimination of autism from other neurodevelpmental disorders.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Author(s)

O Perra, J H G Williams, Andrew Whiten, L Fraser, H Benzie, David Ian Perrett

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Several studies have reported imitative deficits in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, it is still debated if imitative deficits are specific to ASD or shared with clinical groups with similar mental impairment and motor difficulties. We investigated whether imitative tasks can be used to discriminate ASD children from typically developing children (TD) and children with general developmental delay (GDD). We applied discriminant function analyses to the performance of these groups on three imitation tasks and tests of dexterity, motor planning, verbal skills, theory of mind (ToM). Analyses revealed two significant dimensions. The first represented impairment of dexterity and verbal ability, and discriminated TD from GDD children. Once these differences were accounted for, differences in ToM and the three imitation tasks accounted for a significant proportion of the remaining intergroup variance and discriminated the ASD group from other groups. Further analyses revealed that inclusion of imitative tasks increased the specificity and sensitivity of ASD classification and that imitative tasks considered alone were able to reliably discriminate ASD, TD and GDD. The results suggest that imitation and theory of mind impairment in autism may stem from a common domain of origin separate from general cognitive and motor skill. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-468
Number of pages13
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Volume2
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008

    Research areas

  • Imitation, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Theory of mind, Discriminant function analysis, PERVASIVE DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS, SPECTRUM DISORDERS, YOUNG-CHILDREN, QUESTIONNAIRE, STANDARD

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. A deepening understanding of animal culture suggests lessons for conservation

    Brakes, P., Carroll, E. L., Dall, S., Keith, S., McGregor, P., Mesnick, S., Noad, M., Rendell, L., Robbins, M., Rutz, C., Thorton, A., Whiten, A., Whiting, M., Aplin, L., Bearhop, S., Ciucci, P., Fishlock, V., Ford, J., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Simmonds, M. & 5 others, Spina, F., Wade, P., Whithead, H., Williams, J. & Garland, E. C., 28 Apr 2021, In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 288, 1949, 10 p., 20202718.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

  2. The psychological reach of culture in animals’ lives

    Whiten, A., 27 Apr 2021, In: Current Directions in Psychological Science. OnlineFirst, 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. The burgeoning reach of animal culture

    Whiten, A., 2 Apr 2021, In: Science. 372, 6537, eabe6514.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

  4. Chimpanzees’ behavioral flexibility, social tolerance and use of tool-composites in a progressively challenging foraging problem

    Harrison, R. A., van Leeuwen, E. & Whiten, A., 19 Feb 2021, In: iScience. 24, 2, 102033.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Misperceptions of opposite-sex preferences for thinness and muscularity

    Perrett, D. I. & Lei, X., Feb 2021, In: British Journal of Psychology. 112, 1, p. 247-264 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Modeling the impact of social problem-solving deficits on depressive vulnerability in the broader autism phenotype

    Jackson, S. L. J. & Dritschel, B., Jan 2016, In: Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 21, p. 128-138

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 402518

Top