Exploring the Relationship Between Theory of Mind and Social- Communicative Functioning in Children with Autism
One of the most productive areas in theory-of-mind research has explored the hypothesis that children with autism have fundamental and specific deficits in this domain (Baron-Cohen, Tager-Flusberg, & Cohen, 1993, 2000). This hypothesis has been used to explain the core impairments in both social functioning and communication, which constitute two of the major symptoms of this disorder (Baron-Cohen, 1988; Frith, 1989; Happé, 1994). Since the initial demonstration by Baron-Cohen and his colleagues that the majority of children with autism fail the standard false-belief task (Baron-Cohen, Leslie, & Frith, 1985), many studies have confirmed the finding that children with autism have difficulty with a wide variety of theory-of-mind tasks (Baron-Cohen, 2000). Nevertheless, there has been relatively little research that has explicitly examined the relationship between theory-of-mind deficits and the core symptoms or severity of impairments in autism.