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Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica

Print version ISSN 0102-7972

Abstract

TONELLI, Hélio. Autism, theory of mind and the role of mindblindness in the understanding of psychiatric disorders. Psicol. Reflex. Crit. [online]. 2011, vol.24, n.1, pp. 126-134. ISSN 0102-7972.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-79722011000100015.

Individuals with autism spectrum disorders may suffer from qualitative abnormalities in social contacts and communication patterns. Many studies have shown that a great amount of those individuals might have abnormalities in the Theory of Mind (ToM) cognitive processing, i.e., they may lack the capability of inferring their and others' mental states. This condition was named "mindblindness" by Baron-Cohen (1995). Some authors have recently focused on the possibility that individuals who suffer from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, like autistic people, show mindblindness, causing them to develop social impairments. This paper discusses the concept of mindblindness and the view that deems it as an exclusively human ability. Afterwards, it presents some of the available tests to evaluate mindblindness and, finally, shows some scientific evidences that ToM deficits might affect patients with other psychiatric conditions.

Keywords : Autism; Cognition; Social perception; Schizophrenia; Bipolar disorder.

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