Challenging understandings of 'Theory of Mind': a brief report

Article


Brownlow, Charlotte and O'Dell, Lindsay. 2009. "Challenging understandings of 'Theory of Mind': a brief report." Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: journal of policy, practice, and perspectives. 47 (6), pp. 473-478. https://doi.org/10.1352/1934-9556-47.6.473
Article Title

Challenging understandings of 'Theory of Mind': a brief report

ERA Journal ID20736
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsBrownlow, Charlotte (Author) and O'Dell, Lindsay (Author)
Journal TitleIntellectual and Developmental Disabilities: journal of policy, practice, and perspectives
Journal Citation47 (6), pp. 473-478
Number of Pages6
Year2009
Place of PublicationWashington, DC, United States
ISSN0047-6765
1934-9491
1934-9556
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1352/1934-9556-47.6.473
Abstract

Researchers have proposed numerous theories to explain autism, ranging from those that are psychologically focused to those influenced by biology and neurology. Many theories of autism share the assumption that there is a deficit in
people with autism that should be researched, classified, and, ultimately, modified if the hypothesis suggests that this may be possible. Therefore, the common link among these theories is an assumption that there is something wrong with the person with autism. One highly influential
theory purporting to explain the characteristics of autism is that they are caused by an inability to understand others’ mental states; in other words, autistic people are considered to lack a ‘‘theory of mind.’’ This theory is dominant in explanations of autism, with significant influence within the professional field and in constructions of the person with autism. In this article, we critically examine the theory of mind hypothesis using empirical analysis of online material in which neurodiverse
adults, including some who identified with the label of autism, reflected on theory of mind. Neurodiversity is a term that was initially conceived by people with autism in their reframing of deficits and differences and first appeared in an academic essay by Judy Singer in 1999. There has been a call for neurodiversity to be recognized and considered among with the more familiar categories of gender, class, and race (Singer, 1999).

Keywordsautism; behavior; child; cognitive defect; cultural anthropology; Down syndrome; emotion; psychological theory; social adaptation; social behavior
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020520199. Applied and developmental psychology not elsewhere classified
420313. Mental health services
520105. Psychological methodology, design and analysis
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Byline AffiliationsOpen University, United Kingdom
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Hinton, Perry, Brownlow, Charlotte, McMurray, Isabella and Cozens, Bob. 2004. SPSS explained. London, United Kingdom. Routledge.
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Brownlow, Charlotte and O'Dell, Lindsay. 2002. "Ethical issues for qualitative research in on-line communities." Disability and Society. 17 (6), pp. 685-694. https://doi.org/10.1080/0968759022000010452
The citizen-worker: ambivalent meanings of 'real jobs', 'full citizenship' and 'adulthood' in the case of autistic people
Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, Hanna, O'Dell, Lindsay and Brownlow, Charlotte. 2014. "The citizen-worker: ambivalent meanings of 'real jobs', 'full citizenship' and 'adulthood' in the case of autistic people." Australian Community Psychologist. 26 (1), pp. 18-27.
Autism as a form of biological citizenship
Brownlow, Charlotte and O'Dell, Lindsay. 2013. "Autism as a form of biological citizenship." Davidson, Joyce and Orsini, Michael (ed.) Worlds of autism: across the spectrum of neurological difference. Minneapolis, MN. United States. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 97-114
Becoming an autistic adult: exploring the transitions of young people with autism from education/care to working life
O'Dell, Lindsay, Brownlow, Charlotte and Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, Hanna. 2013. "Becoming an autistic adult: exploring the transitions of young people with autism from education/care to working life." Alexander, Michael, Baird, Marian and Pocock, Barbara (ed.) 5th International Community, Work and Family Conference (CWFC 2013): Changes and Challenges in a Globalising World. Sydney, Australia 17 - 19 Jul 2013 Sydney, Australia.
Commentary: challenging representations of autism – exploring possibilities for broadcasting the self on YouTube
Brownlow, Charlotte, O'Dell, Lindsay and Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, Hanna. 2013. "Commentary: challenging representations of autism – exploring possibilities for broadcasting the self on YouTube." Journal on Developmental Disabilities. 19 (1), pp. 90-95.
Exploring the potential for social networking among people with autism: challenging dominant ideas of 'friendship'
Brownlow, Charlotte, Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, Hanna and O'Dell, Lindsay. 2015. "Exploring the potential for social networking among people with autism: challenging dominant ideas of 'friendship'." Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research. 17 (2), pp. 188-193. https://doi.org/10.1080/15017419.2013.859174
Making friends
Brownlow, Charlotte. 2012. "Making friends." Brace, Nicola and Byford, Jovan (ed.) Investigating psychology: key concepts, key studies, key approaches. Oxford, United Kingdom. Oxford University Press. pp. 233-271
The development of friendships and sociality: exploring the friendships of people with autism
Brownlow, Charlotte, O'Dell, Lindsay and Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, Hanna. 2012. "The development of friendships and sociality: exploring the friendships of people with autism." 47th Annual Australasian Society for Intellectual Development Conference (ASID 2012): Research to Practice. Wellington, New Zealand 07 - 09 Nov 2012 Keswick, SA. Australia.
Mapping the social geographies of autism: online and off-line narratives of neuro-shared and separate spaces
Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, Hanna, Brownlow, Charlotte and O'Dell, Lindsay. 2013. "Mapping the social geographies of autism: online and off-line narratives of neuro-shared and separate spaces." Disability and Society. 28 (3), pp. 367-379. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2012.714257
Constructions of Aspergers syndrome identity in public spaces: explorations in online and offline interactions
Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, Hanna, Brownlow, Charlotte and O'Dell, Lindsay. 2011. "Constructions of Aspergers syndrome identity in public spaces: explorations in online and offline interactions ." Disability and Public Space Conference 2011. Oslo, Norway 28 - 29 Apr 2011 Oslo, Norway.
Understanding, and working with, autism: from deficit to neurodiversity
Brownlow, Charlotte. 2010. "Understanding, and working with, autism: from deficit to neurodiversity ." Making Research Count Workshop (2010). Kings College, United Kingdom 11 May 2010
Transitioning to adulthood: autism and biological citizenship
Brownlow, Charlotte and O'Dell, Lindsay. 2011. "Transitioning to adulthood: autism and biological citizenship." 7th Biennial Conference of the International Society of Critical Health Psychology. Adelaide, Australia 18 - 20 Apr 2011
Exploring the transitions of young people with autism from childhood to young adulthood
O'Dell, Lindsay and Brownlow, Charlotte. 2009. "Exploring the transitions of young people with autism from childhood to young adulthood." 7th European Congress of Community Psychology. Paris, france 29 - 30 Oct 2009
Constructing 'NT Syndrome': impairments of being non-autistic
Brownlow, Charlotte and O'Dell, Lindsay. 2008. "Constructing 'NT Syndrome': impairments of being non-autistic." 2nd International Conference on Community Psychology (2ICCP). Lisbon, Portugal 04 - 06 Jun 2008
Constructing an autistic identity: AS voices online
Brownlow, Charlotte and O'Dell, Lindsay. 2006. "Constructing an autistic identity: AS voices online." Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: journal of policy, practice, and perspectives. 44 (5), pp. 315-321. https://doi.org/10.1352/0047-6765
Media reports of links between MMR and autism: a discourse analysis
O'Dell, Lindsay and Brownlow, Charlotte. 2005. "Media reports of links between MMR and autism: a discourse analysis." British Journal of Learning Disabilities. 33, pp. 194-199. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-3156.2005.00304.x
Making friends
Brownlow, Charlotte. 2010. "Making friends." Brace, Nicola and Byford, Jovan (ed.) Discovering psychology. Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. Open University Press. pp. 233-269
Presenting the self: negotiating a label of autism
Brownlow, Charlotte. 2010. "Presenting the self: negotiating a label of autism." Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability. 35 (1), pp. 14-21. https://doi.org/10.3109/13668250903496336
Neurodiverse spaces: exploring the potential for social networking to reconstruct our ideas of 'friendship'
O'Dell, Lindsay, Brownlow, Charlotte and Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, Hanna. 2011. "Neurodiverse spaces: exploring the potential for social networking to reconstruct our ideas of 'friendship'." Critical Autism Seminar Day (2011). Sheffield, United Kingdom 18 Jan 2011
Re-presenting autism: the construction of 'NT Syndrome'
Brownlow, Charlotte. 2010. "Re-presenting autism: the construction of 'NT Syndrome'." Journal of Medical Humanities. 31 (3), pp. 243-255. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10912-010-9114-4
Representations of autism: implications for community healthcare practice
Brownlow, Charlotte and O'Dell, Lindsay. 2009. "Representations of autism: implications for community healthcare practice." Community Practitioner. 82 (7), pp. 18-21.