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Understanding atypical social behaviour using social cognitive theory

Livingston, Lucy A. ORCID: and Happé, Francesca 2021. Understanding atypical social behaviour using social cognitive theory. The Cognitive Basis of Social Interaction Across the Lifespan, Oxford University Press, p. 147. (10.1093/oso/9780198843290.003.0007)

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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is often proposed to be the condition of atypical social cognition, because the social behaviours observed in ASD can be attributed to a range of atypicalities in underlying social cognitive processing. This chapter presents and critiques the most prominent social cognitive theories. We suggest that the ‘Theory of Mind’ theory of autism—which proposes that autistic social atypicalities are best explained by difficulties in inferring the mental states of other people—continues to be the most compelling social cognitive theory, with the greatest explanatory power. We also reflect upon ongoing issues that stymy our understanding of the social cognitive underpinnings of ASD, including heterogeneity, co-occurring conditions, and compensatory ability. Finally, the chapter touches on ongoing debates in the field and suggests avenues for future research required to facilitate knowledge of autistic social behaviour and cognition across the whole lifespan.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198843290
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 10:46

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