Soraya Tahazadeh1, Usha Barahmand2*, Fereshteh Yaghooti3, Mohamad Ali Nazari4
1 Department of Educational Sciences and Psychology, Tabriz University, Tabriz, Iran.
2 Department of Psychology, Queens College, City University of New York, U.S.A.
3 Department of Psychology and Education of Exceptional Children, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.
4 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Tabriz University, Tabriz, Iran.
Background and Objectives. Various tasks with a variety of stimuli have been devised to measure aspects of theory of mind. In the present study, with due consideration of Iranian culture, we introduce a sensitive video-based test, called Mind Reading in Films Task (Films Task), for the evaluation of complex emotions and mental states. This new social ecological task for mindreading comprises several short film scenes, some measuring cognitive theory of mind and some measuring affective theory of mind.
Method. This study included two experiments. In experiment 1, the validity of the newly devised Films Task was investigated by comparing the responses of 342 students to the Films Task and to the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Task (Eyes Test). In experiment 2, the predictive power and sensitivity of the Films Task was assessed. Twenty adults with high functioning autism spectrum conditions (ASC) were compared with 20 matched healthy controls in terms of their responses to the Eyes Task, Films Task and Empathy Quotient questionnaire. The ROC curve was used to determine the best cut-off point and the diagnostic value.
Results. Our findings substantiate the discriminative capacity of the Films Task to distinguish individuals with autism spectrum conditions from their healthy non-clinical counterparts. Limitations: Intelligence and comorbid psychiatric conditions were not controlled, limiting the utility of the measure.
Conclusions. Results imply the potential utility of the Films Task as a viable alternative to the Eyes Task in measuring individual differences in social cognitive ability in the general population.
Please cite this article as: Tahazadeh, S., Barahmand, U., Yaghooti, F., & Nazari, M. A. (2020). Mind reading in films task to assess social cognitive deficits in autism spectrum conditions. Journal of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies, 20(2).
Keywords: autism, theory of mind, social cognition, empathy, complex emotions
Published online: 2020/09/01
Published print: 2020/09/01