Poster C30, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Role of two embedded syntaxes for belief attribution in adults with typical development and with autism: A behavioral experiment
Morgane Burnel1,2,3, Marcela Perrone-Bertolotti1,2, Stephanie Durrleman4, Anne Reboul3, Monica Baciu1,2; 1Univ. Grenoble Alpes, LPNC, F-38040 Grenoble, France, 2CNRS, LPNC UMR 5105, F-38040 Grenoble, France, 3Univ Lyon, CNRS, Institute for Cognitive Sciences - Marc Jeannerod (UMR 5304), F-69675 Bron, France, 4Psycholinguistics Department, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva
Introduction. The role of syntax during belief attribution in healthy adults is not completely understood and still unexplored in adults with autism. Embedded syntax could be useful for the development of Theory of Mind (ToM) (Development account, DA) or more largely, over the lifespan, for ToM reasoning (Reasoning account, RA). Two hypotheses are currently explored, one suggesting embedding of a proposition into another (Relatives and Complements sentences) and another one suggesting false proposition into a true one (Complements sentences), both useful for ToM. The goals of this study were (1) to compare DA vs. RA, (2) to evaluate the role of Relatives and Complements syntaxes in belief attribution, and (3) to evaluate the hypothesis of a verbally-mediated strategy to attribute beliefs in adults with autism Methods. Adults with typical development (TD) (n=22) and with autism (n=50) were involved in a forced-choice task including a belief attribution and a control task under four conditions: silence, syllables repetition, relatives sentences repetition and complements sentences repetition. Results and Discussion. Our results for belief attribution in TD shows the significant role of DA compared to RA. Complements and relatives were similarly related to belief attribution in TD but for participants with autism, results showed increased rates of errors during repetition task for complements compared to relatives. This result suggests that adults with autism use complements syntax to compensate the ToM deficits.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Other