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We examine false belief and counterfactual reasoning in children with autism with a new change-of-intentions task. Children listened to stories, for example, Anne is picking up toys and John hears her say she wants to find her ball. John goes away and the reason for Anne’s action changes—Anne’s mother tells her to tidy her bedroom. We asked, ‘What will John believe is the reason that Anne is picking up toys?’ which requires a false-belief inference, and ‘If Anne’s mother hadn’t asked Anne to tidy her room, what would have been the reason she was picking up toys?’ which requires a counterfactual inference. We tested children aged 6, 8 and 10 years. Children with autism made fewer correct inferences than typically developing children at 8 years, but by 10 years there was no difference. Children with autism made fewer correct false-belief than counterfactual inferences, just like typically developing children.
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- How Children with Autism Reason about Other’s Intentions: False-Belief and Counterfactual Inferences
Ana Cristina Quelhas
Ruth M. J. Byrne
- Springer US