• Autism;
  • social cognition;
  • developmental delay;
  • theory of mind

Abstract In previous tests of the lowest level of .1 “theory of mind” (i.e. first-order belie) attribution), 80% of autistic children were found 10 be impaired relative to a non-autistic mentally-band Happed control group. The present study examines the 20% of autistic children what have a theory of mind at the lowest level, and tests their ability to use a theory of mind al higher levels (i.e. second-order belief attribution). This autistic subgroup, in comparison to Down's Syndrome and normal control groups, was found to be severely impaired at the higher level. Autism is discussed as a possible case of specific developmental delay.