Neuroscientists pinpoint specific social difficulties in people with autism.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Autistic children (Social aspects)
Interpersonal relations (Management)
Interpersonal relations (Psychological aspects)
Social perception (Influence)
Pub Date: 03/22/2012
Publication: Name: Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association Publisher: American Psychotherapy Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 American Psychotherapy Association ISSN: 1535-4075
Issue: Date: Spring, 2012 Source Volume: 15 Source Issue: 1
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs; 200 Management dynamics Computer Subject: Company business management
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 282741108
Full Text: [ILLUTRATION OMITTED]

People with autism process information in unusual ways and often have difficulties in their social interactions in everyday life. While this can be especially striking in those who are otherwise high functioning, characterizing this difficulty in detail has been challenging. Now, researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have isolated a very specific difference in how high-functioning people with autism think about other people, finding that--in actuality--they don't tend to think about what others think of them at all.

This finding, described online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sheds light on what researchers call "theory of mind" abilities--our intuitive skill for figuring out what other people think, intend, and believe. One key aspect of such abilities in terms of social interactions is to be able to figure out what others think of us--in other words, to know what our social reputation is. It is well known that social reputation usually has a very powerful influence on our behavior, motivating us to be nice to others.

California Institute of Technology (2011, October 11). Neuroscientists pinpoint specific social difficulties in people with autism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 5, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111011102006.htm
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