Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Behavior Analysis and Therapy

First Advisor

Rehfeldt, Ruth Anne

Abstract

Perspective-taking, the ability to understand and be aware of information states in oneself and others has recently become an important topic in examining complex behavior and cognition. Previous research has developed a behavioral protocol for assessing perspective-taking skills and has indicated that there are perspective-taking deficits in populations diagnosed with autism. This research has also indicated that the lack of perspective-taking could be the basis for social deficits observed in these populations. Populations that display similar social deficits (i.e. learning disabilities) have not been examined, nor has prior research examined perspective-taking in adolescent populations. The present paper reports the findings of examining the perspective-taking skills in adolescents diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome or a specific learning disability. Participants were tested using a perspective-taking protocol created using therapy cards designed for teaching social skills to adolescents with autism. The protocol included a number of questions testing both deictic frames (I-You, Here-There, Now-Then) and frames of relation (simple, reversed, double reversed). Results indicate that there are similarities in the perspective-taking abilities of adolescents diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, and those diagnosed with learning disabilities.

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