Wechsler IQ Profile and Theory of Mind in Autism: A Research Note


Requests for reprints to: Dr Francesca Happé, MRC Cognitive Development Unit, 4 Taviton Street, London WC1H OBT, U.K.


Abstract The unusually uneven intelligence test profile found in autism has been consistently replicated. However, few psychological theories of autism give prominence to this feature. Nor is it clear how currently influential theories, such as the theory of mind account or the executive function hypothesis, can explain the marked peaks and troughs found in the performance of both high- and low-functioning individuals with autism. The present study reports the pattern of Wechsler subtest results for subjects with autism who do or do not pass standard theory of mind tasks. The results suggest that while difficulty with the Comprehension subtest may reflect poor theory of mind, relative skill on the Block Design subtest is characteristic of subjects with autism regardless of theory of mind performance. Implications of this finding for the central coherence hypothesis are considered.