Inter-correlation of       Social Cognition Measures                for Adults        with Asperger Syndrome              ...
Overview           • Social cognition and impaired Theory of             Mind in psychosis and Asperger syndrome          ...
Social Cognition           • Thinking about and making sense other             people’s behaviour, thoughts and actions   ...
So What?           • Impaired social interaction one of the core             features of autistic spectrum disorders      ...
Social Cognition in Psychosis           • Corcoran, Frith and colleagues have             highlighted ToM deficits in indi...
Social Cognitive Theory of Psychosis           • Paranoid delusions, thought disorder and             negative symptoms th...
Corcoran’s (2000; 2001)                                    Account of Mentalisation           • Based upon a series of stu...
How is this relevant to Asperger                                Syndrome?           • Corcoran and Frith (2003) suggest th...
Measuring Social Cognition           • Measures employed by Corcoran and             colleagues highlighted social cogniti...
Aims of the Study           • To determine the validity of the measures             within a different clinical population...
Method           • Mixed design employing both within-group             and between-group comparisons           • AS group...
Social Cognition Measures           • Battery of measures administered via             interview or in online, web-based f...
ToM and Slapstick Jokes                  Corcoran, Cahill and Frith (1997)           • Idea that an understanding of the i...
Example of ToM Joke                                “Can you explain to me what is                                happening...
Hints Task and Aha Control Task               Corcoran, Mercer and Frith (1995)           • Understanding hints requires t...
PET Mets and Control Task                                 Corcoran (1999)           • Originally developed for PET study o...
Thematic Reasoning Task                                Corcoran and Frith (2005)           • Developed from principles of ...
Projective Imagination Test [PIT]                       Blackshaw et al. (2001)           • Four ambiguous pictured scenar...
Example of PIT Item                                                     “What is happening in                             ...
Results           Significant Between Group Differences                                Hints Task                  U = 18....
Results             % of Each Group Giving Correct          Answers on Thematic Reasoning Items                           ...
Results              Significant Correlational Relationships           NT Group:           • All four thematic reasoning d...
Results              Significant Correlational Relationships           AS Group:           • Thematic reasoning domains co...
Discussion           • Hints task, ToM jokes (plus corresponding             control tests) and metaphors task            ...
Limitations           • Small sample size, unequal groups           • No measure of ability, although this is next        ...
Clinical Implications           • Underlines the subtlety of the difficulties             experienced by adults with AS   ...
Fleur.M.Coiffait@student.manchester.ac.uk                    Dougal.Hare@manchester.ac.uk     Combining the strengths of U...
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Social cognition in adults with Asperger syndrome

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Social cognition in adults with Asperger syndrome

  1. 1. Inter-correlation of Social Cognition Measures for Adults with Asperger Syndrome Fleur-Michelle Coiffait Dr Dougal Julian Hare School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester Dr Rhiannon Corcoran Institute of Neuroscience, University of Nottingham Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  2. 2. Overview • Social cognition and impaired Theory of Mind in psychosis and Asperger syndrome • Measurement and validity issues • Method and results of current study • Limitations • Clinical implications Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  3. 3. Social Cognition • Thinking about and making sense other people’s behaviour, thoughts and actions • Theory of Mind [ToM] • Mentalisation, meta-representation, perspective taking, reasoning Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  4. 4. So What? • Impaired social interaction one of the core features of autistic spectrum disorders (Wing, 1979) • One of the most debilitating features of ASD (Bowler, 2007) • Also a feature of psychosis • Chris Frith (1992) posits that the underlying cognitive deficits in both are similar Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  5. 5. Social Cognition in Psychosis • Corcoran, Frith and colleagues have highlighted ToM deficits in individuals experiencing acute psychotic episodes • A battery of measures have been developed by Corcoran and colleagues that focus on several aspects of ToM • These have consistently highlighted transient social cognitive deficits in this clinical group Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  6. 6. Social Cognitive Theory of Psychosis • Paranoid delusions, thought disorder and negative symptoms thought to arise from a difficulty representing one’s own and others’ thoughts (Frith, 1992). • Evidence that those in remission do not exhibit social cognitive deficits (Corcoran, Cahill, & Frith, 1997). Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  7. 7. Corcoran’s (2000; 2001) Account of Mentalisation • Based upon a series of studies that support Frith’s (1992) claim that ToM impairments underlie some psychotic features • Autobiographical information retrieved, conditional reasoning assesses similarities and differences between current and recalled situations Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  8. 8. How is this relevant to Asperger Syndrome? • Corcoran and Frith (2003) suggest that those with difficulties in social functioning (e.g. people with psychosis or on the autistic spectrum) rely upon general cognitive skills to draw inferences about others’ mental states. • Frith (1992) suggests that the similarities merit further exploration Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  9. 9. Measuring Social Cognition • Measures employed by Corcoran and colleagues highlighted social cognition deficits in adults with psychosis (Corcoran, 1999; 2003; Corcoran et al., 1995; 1997; Corcoran & Frith, 2005). • Although high ecological and face validity, external and concurrent validity of measures not yet been explored. Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  10. 10. Aims of the Study • To determine the validity of the measures within a different clinical population: adults with Asperger syndrome • To compare performances of adults with Asperger syndrome with neurotypical adults • To explore the concurrent validity of the measures Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  11. 11. Method • Mixed design employing both within-group and between-group comparisons • AS group: recruited via non-NHS local voluntary support services (N= 12, 11 males and 1 female) • NT group: NAS staff and acquaintances (N= 36, 23 males and 13 females) Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  12. 12. Social Cognition Measures • Battery of measures administered via interview or in online, web-based format: - ToM Jokes (plus slapstick jokes) - Hints Task (plus control task) - PET Mets (plus control task) - Thematic Reasoning Task - Projective Imagination Task Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  13. 13. ToM and Slapstick Jokes Corcoran, Cahill and Frith (1997) • Idea that an understanding of the intention of the person who generated a joke is needed in order to appreciate humour • Two different types of cartoon jokes: (1)ToM jokes based on characters’ thoughts/intentions/behaviour (2)Slapstick jokes based on physical/ concrete properties of the situations Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  14. 14. Example of ToM Joke “Can you explain to me what is happening in this picture?” Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  15. 15. Hints Task and Aha Control Task Corcoran, Mercer and Frith (1995) • Understanding hints requires the ability to infer what the person really means • E.g. “Its really hot in here.” • The control task involved identifying an object or animal from indirect information • E.g. “The antelope ran away when it saw the spots move.” Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  16. 16. PET Mets and Control Task Corcoran (1999) • Originally developed for PET study of metaphor comprehension vs. literal sentence comprehension • Short statements given and plausibility judged, e.g. “This job is a jail.” (plausible metaphor) “The man used stones as paperweights.” (plausible literal statement) Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  17. 17. Thematic Reasoning Task Corcoran and Frith (2005) • Developed from principles of the Wason (1966) Selection Task (e.g. “if p..., q...”) • Four vignettes with rule to be checked: • (1) Social Familiar • (2) Non-Social Familiar • (3) Social Unfamiliar • (4) Non-Social Unfamiliar Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  18. 18. Projective Imagination Test [PIT] Blackshaw et al. (2001) • Four ambiguous pictured scenarios • Uncued responses elicited by asking: “What is happening in this picture?” • Cued responses then elicited by asking: “What do you think they might be thinking or feeling?” • Focus on no. mental states generated Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  19. 19. Example of PIT Item “What is happening in this picture? Please describe, in your own words, what you think might be the story depicted in this drawing.” [uncued] “What do you think the woman might be thinking Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  20. 20. Results Significant Between Group Differences Hints Task U = 18.5 ** Aha Sentences U = 20.0 * ToM Jokes U = 17.5 ** Physical Jokes U = 22.5 * Metaphors Task U = 74.0 *** Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of Manchester * p < 0.05 ** p < 0.01 *** p < 0.005Monday, 14 May 2012
  21. 21. Results % of Each Group Giving Correct Answers on Thematic Reasoning Items Non-social Non-social Social Social Unfamiliar Familiar Unfamiliar Familiar NT Group 46.7 60 73.3 80 AS Group 66.7 50 50 50 Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  22. 22. Results Significant Correlational Relationships NT Group: • All four thematic reasoning domains correlated with one another • Cued and uncued domains of PIT correlated with one another Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  23. 23. Results Significant Correlational Relationships AS Group: • Thematic reasoning domains correlated • PIT cued responses negatively associated with non-social thematic reasoning responses Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  24. 24. Discussion • Hints task, ToM jokes (plus corresponding control tests) and metaphors task differentiated both groups • As no difference expected on control tasks, are cognitive task demands differentiating due to executive function deficits? • Negative relationships emerged between cued PIT and non-social reasoning in AS group Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  25. 25. Limitations • Small sample size, unequal groups • No measure of ability, although this is next stage of data collection • Groups not matched • PIT responses were not second coded, this is ongoing Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  26. 26. Clinical Implications • Underlines the subtlety of the difficulties experienced by adults with AS • Difficulties with indirect language • Suggests possible alternative strategies for understanding social information (e.g. cueing in social situations) • Need for measures with greater sensitivity Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012
  27. 27. Fleur.M.Coiffait@student.manchester.ac.uk Dougal.Hare@manchester.ac.uk Combining the strengths of UMIST and The Victoria University of ManchesterMonday, 14 May 2012

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