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Using other minds as a window onto the world: guessing what happened from clues in behaviour

Ropar, Danielle; Pillai, Dhanya; Sheppard, Elizabeth; Ropar, Danielle; MITCHELL, PETER; Marsh, Lauren; Pearson, Amy; Mitchell, Peter


Danielle Ropar

Dhanya Pillai

Elizabeth Sheppard

Danielle Ropar


Lauren Marsh

Amy Pearson

Peter Mitchell


It has been proposed that mentalising involves retrodicting as well as predicting behaviour, by inferring previous mental states of a target. This study investigated whether retrodiction is impaired in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Participants watched videos of real people reacting to the researcher behaving in one of four possible ways. Their task was to decide which of these four “scenarios” each person responded to. Participants’ eye movements were recorded. Participants with ASD were poorer than comparison participants at identifying the scenario to which people in the videos were responding. There were no group differences in time spent looking at the eyes or mouth. The findings imply those with ASD are impaired in using mentalising skills for retrodiction.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 27, 2014
Print ISSN 0162-3257
Electronic ISSN 1573-3432
Publisher BMC
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 44
Issue 10
Pages 2430-2439
APA6 Citation Pillai, D., Sheppard, E., Ropar, D., Marsh, L., Pearson, A., & Mitchell, P. (2014). Using other minds as a window onto the world: guessing what happened from clues in behaviour. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(10), 2430-2439. doi:10.1007/s10803-014-2106-x
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