Matching Items (4)

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Social Cognition in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Sex Differences and Aging Correlates

Description

Background: In the United States, approximately 50,000 teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) age into adulthood every year (Shattuck et al., 2012). A hallmark symptom of ASD includes pronounced difficulties in social interactions and verbal and nonverbal communication (Lai, Lombardo,

Background: In the United States, approximately 50,000 teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) age into adulthood every year (Shattuck et al., 2012). A hallmark symptom of ASD includes pronounced difficulties in social interactions and verbal and nonverbal communication (Lai, Lombardo, & Baron-Cohen, 2014). These social cognition difficulties consist of difficulties interpreting social cues, employing appropriate adaptive behavioral responses in various social contexts, as well as the ability to interpret emotions and mental states of others, known as theory of mind (TOM; Premack & Woodruff, 1978). In neurotypical (NT) adults, women perform better on social cognition tasks and difficulties become more prevalent with age, however little is known how sex differences and aging may impact social cognition in adults with ASD (Carstensen, Fung, & Charles 2003).

Objective: This research intended to characterize the influence of sex and age on social cognition in adults with ASD using an adult sample. We hypothesized Reading the Mind in the Eyes (RME) scores would be lower in adults with ASD, with a stronger relationship between decreasing performance aging effects compared to NTs. Additionally, we hypothesized deficits would be more severe in in males with ASD compared to females with ASD.

Methods: The RME task was administered to 181 adults to quantify ToM abilities. The participants consisted of 100 adults with ASD (69 males, 32 females; age range: 18-71, mean=39.45±1.613) and matched 81 NT adults (47 males, 34 females; age range: 18-70, mean=41.51±1.883). Multiple regression analyses examined interactions between diagnosis and age, diagnosis and sex, and diagnosis by age by sex. Exploratory within group analyses assessed 1) sex differences using ANCOVA, and 2) associations with age using Pearson correlation in SPSS.

Results: We found that NT adults performed better on the RME task than adults with ASD. Worse performance on the RME task correlated with greater age for the NT, but not ASD. Additionally, no influence of sex on RME scores was identified.

Discussion: These results are consistent with other studies indicate social cognition deficits in adults with ASD compared to NT adults. Additionally, we replicated findings that suggest ToM performance declines with age in NT adults. Fewer social relationships, smaller social networks, and reduced social engagement have been associated with aging in both NTs and individuals with ASD (Pratt & Norris, 1994). However, our cross-sectional sample suggests ToM abilities may not decline with age in adults with ASD as hypothesized. Longitudinal studies are needed to corroborate these findings. Further developments in this line of research may inform novel interventions tailored toward the growing population of adults with ASD. Ultimately, our research aims to improve quality of life across the lifespan for an already vulnerable population.

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Created

Date Created
2020-05

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Relations in the development of social cognition

Description

The relations between aspects of social understanding (e.g., theory of mind, ToM, and emotion understanding, EU) were studied in relation to language and effortful control (EC). Data were collected when children were 30, 42, and 54 months of age (N's

The relations between aspects of social understanding (e.g., theory of mind, ToM, and emotion understanding, EU) were studied in relation to language and effortful control (EC). Data were collected when children were 30, 42, and 54 months of age (N's = 216, 192, and 168 for T1, T2, and T3, respectively). Children were assessed via mother and caregiver reports, and through observational measures. Although language and ToM did not relate within time, there was limited support for early language positively predicting later ToM. Language and EU were positively related within time, and there was some support for early language positively predicting later EU. Unexpectedly, significant positive relations were found for early EU predicting later language. ToM and EC were positively related within T3, and there was some support for early EC predicting later ToM. EU and EC were often positively related within time. Early EU also tended to positively predict later EC, whereas the opposite relation was not found. There was no support for significant a significant relation between EU and ToM. Findings suggest that children's early language may lead to later EC, and that early EU may help promote later EC and language; thus, it is important for parents and teachers to promote these early skills.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

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Power in Motion: Response Dynamics of Social Power, Goal-Oriented Motor Movement, and Sexual Perception

Description

Research on the psychology of social power has shown how experiences of power tend to promote goal-oriented behavior and sexual perception in individuals. These experiences need not be generated through real-life power dynamics, but can be primed experimentally in the

Research on the psychology of social power has shown how experiences of power tend to promote goal-oriented behavior and sexual perception in individuals. These experiences need not be generated through real-life power dynamics, but can be primed experimentally in the lab. A recent study has explored how power affects even lower level goal-oriented motor movement, showing how increased power facilitates the initiation of goal-oriented motor actions (Maner et al., 2010). However, this research did not explore how these goal-oriented motor movements promoted by power dynamically evolve over time, or can be influenced by sexual perceptual processes. Using an experimental paradigm known as computer mouse-tracking, we designed an experimental task to asses how participants’ – primed with either a High or Low sense of power – motor movements and sexual perceptual processes co-evolved and influenced one another during decision-making. We analyzed four distinct mouse-tracking variables, including traditional reaction time measures and novel measures indexing real-time decision-making processes. Several hypotheses are proposed and discussed. No significant findings emerged, however general trends showed promising signs for future iterations of the study. The study limitations and proposed future directions for studying these phenomena are discussed.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2016

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Teleological Explanations of Nature Relate to Supernatural Agent Detection Among Theists and Atheists

Description

Humans are biased toward teleological explanations of natural phenomena. The promiscuous teleology account posits that this proclivity is rooted in the detection of supernatural agency behind the design of the natural world. This idea is supported by numerous positive correlations

Humans are biased toward teleological explanations of natural phenomena. The promiscuous teleology account posits that this proclivity is rooted in the detection of supernatural agency behind the design of the natural world. This idea is supported by numerous positive correlations of religious belief and agreement with teleological explanations of natural phenomena, but it is challenged by findings that non-believers often agree with them as well, suggesting the need for an adjudicating experiment. The current experiment tested whether considering similar teleological explanations of nature causes explicitly theistic and atheistic people to think about God, which would suggest that the teleological bias has roots in agency detection. Participants (N = 608) were randomly assigned to consider teleological explanations of either human-caused phenomena or natural phenomena, with the main prediction that considering the natural item set would make theists relatively faster to categorize God as real but make atheists relatively slower to categorize God as imaginary. The data did support this hypothesis, suggesting that people across the theistic belief spectrum automatically think of God when thinking about nature’s purpose, and thus the teleological bias might be rooted in the detection of supernatural agency. Implications for theories of teleology, study limitations, and potential future directions are discussed.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2021