Action Understanding in High-Functioning Autism: The Faux Pas Task Revisited


Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are said to have deficits in “theory of mind.” The present paper explores two main accounts of the mechanisms underlying these deficits. On one account, high-functioning adults with ASD struggle to infer others’ mental states. On another account, they lack an ability to integrate those mental states into a coherent understanding of action. We tested these two accounts by making several modifications to the Faux Pas task—a commonly used advanced theory of mind task—including the presentation of explicit mental state information. Surprisingly, in contrast to previous work, individuals on the autism spectrum exhibited both intact integration and intact inference.

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