Project Detail
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) logo
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

Precursors of theory of mind in young children with autism  

One of the most well known communication and social deficits exhibited by children and adults with autism is the inability to mentalize or make inferences about what others know, believe, think, and feel, which makes it difficult for them to operate socially. This study investigates whether deficits in theory of mind in young children with autism stem from an inability to form concepts for animates and inanimates, based on the hypothesis that children with ASD may have difficulties deciphering goal-directed action. The project will use multiple tests to determine whether and how children with autism understand that animals are goal-directed, but vehicles are not. The findings will have relevance to cognition, development, clinical psychology, and neuroscience, and they will have potential implication for early diagnosis of autism as well as for targeting specific deficits in intervention with the goal of improving social functioning. Project Status


Funder National Institutes of Health
Fiscal Year Funding $79,227.00
Project Number 5R03HD054507-02
Principal Investigator Rakison, David
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening? (Biology)
Strategic Plan Objective 2O. Not specific to Question 2 objectives
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution Carnegie Mellon University
State/Country Pennsylvania
Web Link 1 Precursors of theory of mind in young children with autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
History/Related Projects Precursors of theory of mind in young children with autism | $79,184.00 | 2008 | R03HD054507-01A2