Autism: beyond "theory of mind"

Cognition. 1994 Apr-Jun;50(1-3):115-32. doi: 10.1016/0010-0277(94)90024-8.


The theory of mind account of autism has been remarkably successful in making specific predictions about the impairments in socialization, imagination and communication shown by people with autism. It cannot, however, explain either the non-triad features of autism, or earlier experimental findings of abnormal assets and deficits on non-social tasks. These unexplained aspects of autism, and the existence of autistic individuals who consistently pass false belief tasks, suggest that it may be necessary to postulate an additional cognitive abnormality. One possible abnormality-weak central coherence--is discussed, and preliminary evidence for this theory is presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Child
  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Imagination*
  • Intelligence*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Psychological Theory
  • Socialization*