08-06-2021 | Original Paper
Theory of Mind and Moral Decision-Making in the Context of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders | Uitgave 4/2022Log in om toegang te krijgen
Social impairment in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has been linked to Theory of Mind (ToM) deficits. However, little research has investigated the relationship between ToM and moral decision-making in children with ASD. This study compared moral decision-making and ToM between aggregate-matched ASD and neurotypical boys (n = 38 per group; aged 6–12). In a third-party resource allocation task manipulating recipient merit, wealth, and health, neurotypical children allocated significantly more resources to the morally deserving recipient, suggesting equitable allocation. A comparatively larger portion of the ASD group allocated equally. ToM emerged as a predictor of moral decision-making. We suggest that ToM (cognitive empathy) deficits may underly atypical moral decision-making in ASD by limiting the integration of empathic arousal (affective empathy) with moral information.