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J Autism Dev Disord. 2011 Nov;41(11):1534-42. doi: 10.1007/s10803-011-1180-6.

Judgments of cause and blame: sensitivity to intentionality in Asperger's syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Cognitive, Perceptual, and Brain Science, University College London, Bedford Way Building, Gower Street, London WCIE 6BT, UK.


Sensitivity to intentionality in people with Asperger's syndrome (AS) and matched controls was investigated using two scenario-based tasks. The first compared intentional and unintentional human actions and physical events leading to the same negative outcomes. The second compared intentional actions that varied in their subjective and objective likelihood of bringing about a negative outcome. Whilst adults with AS did not differ from controls in their judgments of causality, or in their blame judgments in relation to non-mentalistic factors, they showed heightened sensitivity to mentalistic considerations in their attributions of blame. They made greater differentiation than controls between intentional and unintentional actions, and also between actions that the protagonists believed to be likely versus unlikely to lead to negative consequences.

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