Further exploration of the social cognitive abilities of high-functioning adults with 'autistic spectrum disorders'. Is there evidence to suggest they use alternative routes to problem solution?

Prof Doc Thesis


Caffrey, A. 2006. Further exploration of the social cognitive abilities of high-functioning adults with 'autistic spectrum disorders'. Is there evidence to suggest they use alternative routes to problem solution? Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsCaffrey, A.
TypeProf Doc Thesis
Abstract

Recent work suggests that high-functioning adults with 'autistic spectrum disorders' (ASDs) may 'solve' social cognition problems using different strategies to those used by typically-developed adults. This study addressed the 'alternative routes' hypothesis by contrasting the performance of a group of participants with ASDs to an age and 'IQ' matched control group on tasks of social cognition. Quantitative and qualitative methods were employed. On a neuropsychological battery (examining verbal ability, attention, executive function and non-verbal abstraction) the groups were found to be well matched in all domains, except for one measure of executive function. Two measures of social cognition were used; an 'advanced' theory of mind (ToM) task, Strange Stories, and a measure of real-life-type social problem solving, Predicaments. The scores were subjected to multivariate analysis, with neuropsychological scores as covariates. A (non-significant) difference was found between the groups on ToM Strange Stories. Significant differences were found on aspects of the Predicaments task, including the selection of solutions that demonstrated adequate problem appreciation, social appropriateness and practical effectiveness. Performance on ToM Strange Stories was correlated with several dimensions of Predicaments. This lends some support to the suggestion that better ToM skills correlate to better real-life social insight and competence. These tasks are not 'process pure' and a range of factors that may impact on social cognitive abilities are discussed. A novel 'think aloud' method was employed to explore the hypothesis that people with ASDs may solve social problems in different ways to typical adults. Participants were asked to verbalise their thoughts on half the social cognition measures. The resulting transcripts were analysed using a process of thematic analysis. Three overarching themes emerged that gave weight to the 'alternative routes' hypothesis. The main differences were in respect to an intuitive versus explicit ToM, the appropriate versus inappropriate use of context, and moral perspectives. The results of both components provide interesting advancements and counterpoints to existing research. The strengths, weaknesses and potential implications of the findings are discussed.

Year2006
Publication dates
PrintJul 2006
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Jul 2014
Additional information

This thesis supplied via ROAR to UEL-registered users is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights, and duplication of any part of the material is not permitted, except for your personal use for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study in electronic or print form. You must obtain permission from the copyright-holder for any other use. Electronic or print copies may not be offered, for sale or otherwise, to anyone. No quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

Publisher's version
File Access Level
Registered users only
Permalink -

https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/8671v

  • 96
    total views
  • 6
    total downloads
  • 1
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month

Export as