Eye movements during false-belief tasks can reveal an individual's capacity to implicitly monitor others' mental states (theory of mind - ToM). It has been suggested, based on the results of a single-trial-experiment, that this ability is impaired in those with a high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD), despite neurotypical-like performance on explicit ToM measures. However, given there are known attention differences and visual hypersensitivities in ASD it is important to establish whether such impairments are evident over time. In addition, investigating implicit (...) ToM using a repeated trial approach allows an assessment of whether learning processes can reduce the ASD impairment in this ability, as is the case with explicit ToM. Here we investigated the temporal profile of implicit ToM in individuals with ASD and a control group. Despite similar performance on explicit ToM measures, ASD-diagnosed individuals showed no evidence of implicit false-belief tracking even over a one-hour period and many trials, whereas control participants did. These findings demonstrate that the systems involved in implicit and explicit ToM are distinct and hint that impaired implicit false-belief tracking may play an important role in ASD. Further, they indicate that learning processes do not alleviate this impairment across the presentation of multiple trials. (shrink)
Two studies investigated the development of infants' visual preferences for the human body shape. In Study 1, infants of 12,15 and 18 months were tested in a standard preferential looking experiment, in which they were shown paired line drawings of typical and scrambled bodies. Results indicated that the 18-month-olds had a reliable preference for the scrambled body shapes over typical body shapes, while the younger infants did not show differential responding. In Study 2, 12- and 18-month-olds were tested with the (...) same procedure, except that the typical and scrambled body stimuli were photographic images. The results of Study 2 again indicated that only the 18-month-olds had a reliable preference for the scrambled body shapes. This finding contrasts sharply with infants' precocious preferences for human faces, suggesting that infants' learning about human faces and human bodies follow different developmental trajectories. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved. (shrink)
Three experiments demonstrate that biological movement facilitates young infants’ recognition of the whole human form. A body discrimination task was used in which 6-, 9-, and 12-month-old infants were habituated to typical human bodies and then shown scrambled human bodies at the test. Recovery of interest to the scrambled bodies was observed in 9- and 12-month-old infants in Experiment 1, but only when the body images were animated to move in a biologically possible way. In Experiment 2, nonbiological movement was (...) incorporated into the typical and scrambled body images, but this did not facilitate body recognition in 9- and 12-month-olds. A preferential looking paradigm was used in Experiment 3 to determine if infants had a spontaneous preference for the scrambled versus typical body stimuli when these were both animated. The results showed that 12-month-olds preferred the scrambled body stimuli, 9-month-olds preferred the typical body stimuli and the 6-month-olds showed no preference for either type of body stimuli. These findings suggest that human body recognition involves integrating form and movement, possibly in the superior temporal sulcus, from as early as 9 months of life. (shrink)
Because we engage with the world and each other through our bodies and bodily movements, being able to represent one's own and others' bodies is fundamental to human perception, cognition and behaviour. This edited book brings together, for the first time, developmental perspectives on the growth of body knowledge in infancy and early childhood and how it intersects with other aspects of perception and cognition. The book is organised into three sections addressing the bodily self, the bodies of others and (...) integrating self and other. Topics include perception and representation of the human form, infant imitation, understanding biological motion, self-representation, intention understanding, action production and perception and children's human figure drawings. Each section includes chapters from leading international scholars drawn together by an expert commentary that highlights open questions and directions for future research. (shrink)
The dissociations among body representations that Dijkerman & de Haan (D&dH) describe are also supported by developmental evidence. Developmental dissociations among different types of body-related representations suggest distinct functional systems from the start, rather than progressive differentiation.
Grush's emulator model appears to be consistent with the idea of a body schema, that is, a detailed mental representation of the body, its structure, and movement in relation to the environment. If the emulator is equivalent to a body schema, then the next step will be to specify how the emulator accounts for neuropsychological and developmental phenomena that have long been hypothesized to involve the body schema.
We doubt that theory of mind can be sufficiently demonstrated without reliance on verbal tests. Where language is the major tool of social manipulation, an effective theory of mind must use language as an input. We suspect, therefore, that in this context, prelinguistic human and nonhuman minds are more alike than are human pre- and postlinguistic minds.