Jul 23, 2009

Mind Blindness

Mindblind Eyes: An Absence Of Spontaneous Theory Of Mind In Asperger SyndromeMain

Highly intelligent adults with Asperger Syndrome still have difficulties in day-to-day social interaction. These difficulties may be explained by 'mindblindness', the idea that they are unable to predict what other people will do by thinking about their mental states, that is, their knowledge and beliefs. If this is true then why do people with Asperger syndrome pass all the standard tests of mental state attribution? Is the theory wrong or are the tests insensitive? This study reports evidence from eye movements, that adults with Asperger Syndrome do not spontaneously anticipate another person's behaviour on the basis of that person's mental state.

This is in stark contrast with typical adults, and even young toddlers.So the mindblindness theory also holds for highly intelligent people with Asperger syndrome. At the same time we acknowledge their successful compensatory learning. This suffices for slow and deliberate thinking about other people's thoughts, but is not the same as the spontaneous and automatic ability to attribute inner thoughts, and it may be the lack of this spontaneous ability that is at the heart of the everyday social impairments still evident in highly intelligent adults with Asperger Syndrome.

Source: Birkbeck College
Reprinted from Medical News Today