Social and pragmatic deficits in autism: Cognitive or affective?

  title={Social and pragmatic deficits in autism: Cognitive or affective?},
  author={Simon Baron-Cohen},
  journal={Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders},
  • S. Baron-Cohen
  • Published 1 September 1988
  • Psychology
  • Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Autism is characterized by a chronic, severe impairment in social relations. Recent studies of language in autism also show pervasive deficits in pragmatics. We assume, uncontroversially, that these two deficits are linked, since pragmatics is part of social competence. This paper reviews the literature describing these deficits, and then considers two different psychological theories of these phenomena: the Affective theory and the Cognitive theory. Although the Affective theory makes better… 
A psychological approach to understanding the social and language impairments in autism.
Current research on the relationship between social behavior, communicative functioning, and theory of mind in children with autism are reviewed, emphasizing the connections between these areas of impairment that are central to the definition of the autistic syndrome.
Cognitive Functioning in Autism
Autism is a syndrome that is defined primarily in behavioral terms, but is universally associated with cognitive deficits of varying degrees. Theorists over the last 30 years have argued over the
Autism by another name? Semantic and pragmatic impairments in children
The literature on children with language disorders that are characterized by semantic and pragmatic impairments is reviewed and the conclusion is drawn that some of these conditions may stem from the
Social or Cognitive or Both? Crucial Dysfunctions in Autism
Although the word “autism” means social withdrawal, and although the syndrome of autism is defined with social withdrawal as a core deficit, the nature of social withdrawal in autism has yet to be
A theoretical approach to the deficits in infantile autism
Abstract Deficits specific to the syndrome of infantile autism appear in imitation, emotion sharing, theory of mind, pragmatics of communication, and symbolic play. Current competing theories of
A theoretical approach to the deficits in infantile autism
Abstract Deficits specific to the syndrome of infantile autism appear in imitation, emotion sharing, theory of mind, pragmatics of communication, and symbolic play. Current competing theories of
Sequences of Mind Development in Boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder
The results indicated that children with ASD performed significantly worse than normal children on ToM tasks, but it was shown that some of the ASD children were able to pass desire and false-belief tasks whereas none of them could succeed in knowledge and real-apparent emotion tasks.
Autism: A specific cognitive disorder of "mind-blindness."
The last 20 years has produced a body of evidence suggesting the presence of cognitive deficits in autism. This research is briefly reviewed. The question of whether a specific cognitive deficit
Social-cognitive abilities in children with lesser variants of autism: skill deficits or failure to apply skills?
The results showed that both groups did not differ with respect to their ability to infer other people's emotions in the structured role-taking tasks, and significant differences were found on the free person descriptions: the children with PDD-NOS used fewer inner, psychological characteristics to describe peers.
Narrative Discourse in Adults with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome
Early evidence is provided of how social impairments can produce mild linguistic impairments in people with high-functioning autism or Asperger Syndrome.


Cognitive Impairments Affecting Social Behavior in Autism
The nature of the association between the social and the cognitive impairments found in autistic people has been, and still is, the subject of debate. (For recent reviews of the argument, see Rutter,
Ontogeny of communicative functions in autism
  • A. Wetherby
  • Psychology
    Journal of autism and developmental disorders
  • 1986
A working model of the ontogeny of communicative functions in autistic children is proposed and the communicative profile associated with autism is explained by factors related to the child's language-learning environment, as well as factors inherent in the child.
Autistic children as adults: psychiatric, social, and behavioral outcomes.
Effects of human and nonhuman stimuli on attention and learning in psychotic children
  • A. Davids
  • Psychology
    Child psychiatry and human development
  • 1974
Comparing small groups of psychotic, younger normal, and older normal children, the psychotics showed attentional deficits and learning difficulties, but they were not influenced by the social versus nonsocial nature of the stimuli.
Autism and symbolic play
Recent work suggests autistic children are impaired in their symbolic (or pretend) play. However, such studies have either used inadequate definitions of ‘pretend’, or have not examined spontaneous
On the nature of linguistic functioning in early infantile autism
  • H. Tager-Flusberg
  • Linguistics, Psychology
    Journal of autism and developmental disorders
  • 1981
Research consistently shows that phonological and syntactic development follow the same course as in normal children and in other disordered groups, though at a slowed rate, while semantic and pragmatic functioning may be specially deficient in autism.
Social cognition and pretend play in autism.
The literature surrounding the autistic child's social impairment is reviewed. It is proposed that an impairment in some aspect of autistic children's social cognition could account for many of the
Severe impairments of social interaction and associated abnormalities in children: Epidemiology and classification
  • L. Wing, J. Gould
  • Psychology
    Journal of autism and developmental disorders
  • 1979
The prevalence, in children aged under 15, of severe impairments of social interaction, language abnormalities, and repetitive stereotyped behaviors was investigated in an area of London, and a system of classification based on quality ofsocial interaction was considered.