Neuroscientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Find Evidence That Adults with Autism Have Trouble Understanding Other People's Intentions

February 4, 2011

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A study from MIT neuroscientists reveals that high-functioning adults with autism appear to have trouble using "theory of mind" to make moral judgments in certain situations. In the mid-1980s, a team of autism researchers theorized that one of the major features of autism is an inability to infer the thoughts of other people. This skill, known as theory of mind, comes naturally to most people. Though there is much anecdotal evidence that this skill is impaired in people with autism, it has been difficult to show it experimentally in adults until now.

>> Read an abstract of "Impaired theory of mind for moral judgment in high-functioning autism" by Joseph M. Moran et al. in the January 31st online edition of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.