The Psychonomics Seminar Series 2008
"Flipping knowledge on its head with an empirical spatula"
This Friday, at 3pm in room 302, we will be beside ourselves with joy and happiness as David Williams will present a talk titled "Impairments in conceptual self-awareness of own mental states but not pre-conceptual awareness of own agency in Autism Spectrum Disorder"
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by deficits in theory of mind, with 20 years of research demonstrating the limitations that affected individuals have in recognising and responding to the mental states of others. Comparatively little research has explored the extent to which individuals with ASD represent their own mental states, however. Some (e.g., Pacherie, 1997; Russell & Hill, 2001) have suggested that theory of mind deficits in ASD are a secondary consequence of impairments in pre-conceptual awareness of own actions/agency. Action monitoring impairments, according to this view, lead to an inadequate experience of agency and, subsequently, to a difficulty in acquiring concepts of self and of ones own and others mental states. Three experiments were conducted to explore these issues, with results suggesting that ASD-specific deficits in conceptual theory of own mind are at least as profound as, if not more profound than, characteristic difficulties with representing the mental states of others. On the other hand, difficulties in self-awareness at the pre-conceptual level of action monitoring were not apparent.
David Williams studied Drama at the University of Bristol. He has since become a world famous comedian and coined many popular phrases, such as 'computer says no'. He has also swam the English Channel and raised a great deal of money for charity via contributions to comic relief. All this, of course, has nothing to do with his far more talented and charismatic name sake, David Williams,