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Word Count: 468
Aim Do autistic children have a theory of mind Method Laboratory experiment Sample There were 3 groups 20 autistic children 14 Downs syndrome 27 clinically normal Procedure A simple scenario is acted out using 2 dolls Sally and Anne First the child is asked which doll is Sally and which doll is Anne Sally then places a marble in her basket and leaves Anne then takes the marble and places it in her box Sally then returns The child is then asked four questions - The naming question to check they can distinguish between the 2 dolls - The belief question the critical question to test theory of mind where will sally look for her marble - The reality question where is the marble really - The memory question where was the marble to start with this is used to to check that the child was not simply guessing the answer to the critical question Results All the participants answered the naming reality and memory questions accurately Belief Question- GroupNot answering belief question correctly Autistic420 Downs1214 Clinically normal2327 Conclusions The results quite clearly show that the majority of autistic children were unable to answer the belief question correctly The 16 that got the answer wrong all pointed to where the marble really was rather than where Sally originally left the marble DiscussionEvaluation The results also suggest that age had no effect on the childrens ability to answer the belief question and neither did intelligence the Downs children gave correct answers to this question despite having very low intelligence Therefore we can evaluate that the autistic children were unable to appreciate the difference between their own knowledge and the dolls This is an inability to represent mental states therefore they cannot predict the behavior of others Strengths and Weaknesses One weakness for this experiment is that dolls were used instead of real people and as autistic
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