Executive Function Deficits in High-Functioning Autistic Individuals: Relationship to Theory of Mind


Requests for reprints to: Dr Sally Ozonoff, Department of Psychology, 502 Social Behavioral Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, U.S.A.


Abstract A group of high-functioning autistic individuals was compared to a clinical control group matched on VTQ, age, sex and SES. Significant group differences were found on executive function, theory of mind, emotion perception and verbal memory tests, but not on spatial or other control measures. Second-order theory of mind and executive function deficits were widespread among the autistic group, while first-order theory of mind deficits were found in only a subset of the sample. The relationship of executive function and theory of mind deficits to each other, and their primacy to autism, are discussed.