The development of visuo-spatial perspective taking in autism spectrum disorder

Pearson, Amy (2014) The development of visuo-spatial perspective taking in autism spectrum disorder. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

The ability to take another person’s perspective is highly important for social interaction. People with autism have particular difficulty with taking someone else’s point of view. This thesis aimed to examine whether people with autism are impaired at visual perspective taking and the processes which underlie this ability and how this could impact on social interaction.

Chapter two examined body representation in children with autism and results showed no significant difference between these and the control groups in regards to performance. Chapter three investigated mental rotation and egocentric spatial transformations in adults with autism compared to typically developing (TD) adults. Results showed that participants with autism were slower but equally accurate in the mental rotation task and slower and less accurate in the egocentric task. Comparisons across tasks suggested that the participants with autism may have general differences in perception compared to typical people. The experiments in Chapter 4 examined level 2 visual perspective taking (VPT2) and the processes which underlie this ability in TD children. The results showed that in typical children VPT2 is driven by the ability to represent bodies from different points of view. Chapter five examined whether children with autism were impaired at VPT2 and whether the same processes predicted this ability in children with and without autism. Results showed that VPT2 in children with autism is predicted by mental rotation ability and not body representation. In the final experiment, level 1 VPT was examined in children with autism. Whilst previous studies have suggested that this ability may be intact in autism, the results of this chapter suggested otherwise. Overall it was found that people with autism have problems in perspective taking which could impact on their social skills.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Ropar, D.
Hamilton, A.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 14476
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2014 10:55
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2016 21:20
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/14476

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