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We use a new model of metarepresentational development to predict a cognitive deficit which could explain a crucial component of the social impairment in childhood autism. One of the manifestations of a basic metarepresentational capacity is a 'theory of mind'. We have reason to believe that autistic children lack such a 'theory'. If this were so, then they(More)
It is now widely accepted that sensitivity to goal-directed actions emerges during the first year of life. However, controversy still surrounds the question of how this sensitivity emerges and develops. One set of views emphasizes the role of observing behavioral cues, while another emphasizes the role of experience with producing own action. In a series of(More)
To understand some aspects of conceptual development it is necessary to take cognitive architecture into account. For this purpose, the study of normal development is often not sufficient. Fortunately, one can also study neurodevelopmental disorders. For example, autistic children have severe difficulties developing certain kinds of concepts but not others.(More)
The problem of the origins of the perception of causality in infancy has received relatively little attention in the literature despite its obvious importance. Two experiments with infants 4 1/2 and 8 months old are reported which seek to investigate sensitivity to spatiotemporal continuity in simple causal events with a differential(More)
The study of object cognition over the past 25 years has proceeded in two largely non-interacting camps. One camp has studied object-based visual attention in adults, while the other has studied the object concept in infants. We briefly review both sets of literature and distill from the adult research a theoretical model that we apply to findings from the(More)
a standard false belief task, a child is asked to predict the behavior of a protagonist who has acquired a false belief after an object is moved unexpectedly (Baron-Cohen, Leslie, & Frith, 1985; Wimmer & Perner, 1983). Around age four years, children first become able to solve such problems. No matter what accounts for this transition, a cognitive model of(More)
Human learning may depend upon domain specialized mechanisms. A plausible example is rapid, early learning about the thoughts and feelings of other people. A major achievement in this domain, at about age four in the typically developing child, is the ability to solve problems in which the child attributes false beliefs to other people and predicts their(More)