Reading the Mind in the Voice: A Study With Normal Adults and Adults With Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism

J Autism Dev Disord. 2002 Jun;32(3):189-94. doi: 10.1023/a:1015497629971.


People with high functioning autism (HFA) and Asperger syndrome (AS) have deficits in theory of mind (ToM). Traditional ToM tasks are not sensitive enough to measure ToM deficits in adults, so more subtle ToM tests are needed. One adult level test, the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test has shown that AS and HFA subjects have measurable deficits in the ability to make ToM inferences. Here we introduce a test that extends the above task into the auditory domain and that can be used with adults with IQ Scores in the normal range. We report the use of the test with an adult sample of people with AS/HFA and with two adult control groups. Results suggest that individuals with AS/HFA have difficulty extracting mental state information from vocalizations. These results are consistent with previous results suggesting that people with HFA and AS have difficulties drawing ToM inferences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asperger Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Asperger Syndrome / psychology*
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Concept Formation
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Social Perception
  • Speech Acoustics*
  • Speech Perception*