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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)
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)
The study of cognitive development is dominated by the view that concepts are essentially packets of theory-like has emerged from a long tradition of viewing concepts as descriptions of one kind or another, though there have been and continue to be many variations and disagreements concerning the character of the associated knowledge (e. Laurence &(More)
Our ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of other people does not initially develop as a theory but as a mechanism. The "theory of mind" mechanism (ToMM) is part of the core architecture of the human brain, and is specialized for learning about mental states. Impaired development of this mechanism can have drastic effects on social learning, seen(More)