Title: Social maturity and theory of mind in typically developing children and those on the autism spectrum.
Authors: Peterson, Candida C; Slaughter, Virginia P; Paynter, Jessica.
Source: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Vol 48(12) Dec 2007, 1243-1250.

The researchers created a new measure of Social Maturity (Sociability, Assertion, peer leadership, social play, coping with peers, and social sensitivity). They examined whether social maturity was related to children’s “theory of mind”, a concept at the center of many Autism theories, and which refers to the child’s ability to recognize other people’s thoughts and intentions from their actions (if you are looking under the table I recognize that you “think” something may be under the table). The researchers found that those children who score high on Theory of Mind tests also scored high on the Social maturity scale. They also found that children with autism scored lower in theory of mind and social maturity than children with typical development. But most interesting, children with Asperger’s did well on theory of mind tests, but not on social maturity tests. This suggests that children with Asperger’s diagnosis may not have impairments in theory of mind but yet they have low levels of social maturity.

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