Advertisement

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 49, Issue 10, pp 4193–4208 | Cite as

Enter the Wild: Autistic Traits and Their Relationship to Mentalizing and Social Interaction in Everyday Life

  • Tobias SchuwerkEmail author
  • Larissa J. Kaltefleiter
  • Jiew-Quay Au
  • Axel Hoesl
  • Clemens Stachl
Original Paper

Abstract

Theories derived from lab-based research emphasize the importance of mentalizing for social interaction and propose a link between mentalizing, autistic traits, and social behavior. We tested these assumptions in everyday life. Via smartphone-based experience sampling and logging of smartphone usage behavior we quantified mentalizing and social interaction in our participants’ natural environment. Mentalizing occurred less frequently than reasoning about actions and participants preferred to mentalize when alone. Autistic traits were negatively correlated with communication via smartphone. Yet, they were not associated with social media usage, a more indirect way of getting in touch with others. Our findings critically inform recent theories on social cognition, social behavior, and the role of autistic traits in these phenomena.

Keywords

Autism Experience sampling method Mentalizing Mobile sensing Theory of mind 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Funded by LMUexcellent. For their invaluable help we thank Nadja Krenz, Nina Plenk, Stefanie Dangl, Sarah Tichi, Ramona Hofmann, Jana Wiechmann, Paul Mayer, Stephanie Günzinger, Phuong-Anh Vu, Daniel Buschek, Mike Fayer, April Moeller, Caroline Zygar, Irina and Christian Jarvers.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The ethics committee of the Department of Psychology and Education of LMU Munich approved the study.

Informed Consent

The participants gave informed written consent to participate in the study.

Supplementary material

10803_2019_4134_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (82 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 82 kb)

References

  1. Arendasy, M. (2009). BFSI: Big-Five Struktur-Inventar (Test & Manual). Mödling: SCHUHFRIED GmbH.Google Scholar
  2. Atherton, G., Lummis, B., Day, S. X., & Cross, L. (2018). What am i thinking? Perspective-taking from the perspective of adolescents with autism. Autism, 23(5), 1186–1200.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361318793409.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Baron-Cohen, S., & Wheelwright, S. (2004). The broad autism phenotype questionnaire. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34(2), 163–175.  https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JADD.0000022607.19833.00.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Skinner, R., Martin, J., & Clubley, E. (2001). The autism-spectrum quotient (AQ): Evidence from asperger syndrome/high-functioning autism, malesand females, scientists and mathematicians. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31(1), 5–17.  https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005653411471.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Begeer, S., Malle, B. F., Nieuwland, M. S., & Keysar, B. (2010). Using theory of mind to represent and take part in social interactions: Comparing individuals with high-functioning autism and typically developing controls. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 7(1), 104–122.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17405620903024263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bolis, D., Balsters, J., Wenderoth, N., Becchio, C., & Schilbach, L. (2017). Beyond autism: Introducing the dialectical misattunement hypothesis and a bayesian account of intersubjectivity. Psychopathology, 50, 355–372.  https://doi.org/10.1159/000484353.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Bonetti, L., Campbell, M. A., & Gilmore, L. (2010). The relationship of loneliness and social anxiety with children’s and adolescents’ online communication. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 13(3), 279–285.  https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2009.0215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bryant, L., Coffey, A., Povinelli, D. J., & Pruett, J. R. (2013). Theory of Mind experience sampling in typical adults. Consciousness and Cognition, 22(3), 697–707.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2013.04.005.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Bullmore, E., & Sporns, O. (2012). The economy of brain network organization. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 13, 336–349.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn3214.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Burke, M., Kraut, R., & Williams, D. (2010). Social use of computer-mediated communication by adults on the autism spectrum. In Proceedings of the 2010 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work, ACM, New York, USA (pp. 425–434).  https://doi.org/10.1145/1718918.1718991
  11. Chawarska, K., Macari, S., & Shic, F. (2013). Decreased spontaneous attention to social scenes in 6-month-old infants later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Biological Psychiatry, 74(3), 195–203.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.11.022.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Chen, Y.-W., Bundy, A., Cordier, R., Chien, Y.-L., & Einfeld, S. (2016). The experience of social participation in everyday contexts among individuals with autism spectrum disorders: An experience sampling study. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(4), 1403–1414.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-015-2682-4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Chevallier, C., Grèzes, J., Molesworth, C., Berthoz, S., & Happé, F. (2012a). Brief report: Selective social anhedonia in high functioning autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(7), 1504–1509.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1364-0.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Chevallier, C., Kohls, G., Troiani, V., Brodkin, E. S., & Schultz, R. T. (2012b). The social motivation theory of autism. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(4), 231–239.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2012.02.007.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Clements, C. C., Zoltowski, A. R., Yankowitz, L. D., Yerys, B. E., Schultz, R. T., & Herrington, J. D. (2018). Evaluation of the social motivation hypothesis of autism: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry, 75(8), 797–808.  https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.1100.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Desjarlais, M., & Willoughby, T. (2010). A longitudinal study of the relation between adolescent boys and girls’ computer use with friends and friendship quality: Support for the social compensation or the rich-get-richer hypothesis? Computers in Human Behavior, 26(5), 896–905.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2010.02.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ferreira, D., Goncalves, J., Kostakos, V., Barkhuus, L., & Dey, A. K. (2014). Contextual experience sampling of mobile application micro-usage. Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices; Services, (pp. 91–100).  https://doi.org/10.1145/2628363.2628367
  18. Fiebich, A., & Coltheart, M. (2015). Various ways to understand other minds: Towards a pluralistic approach to the explanation of social understanding. Mind & Language, 30, 235–258.  https://doi.org/10.1111/mila.12079.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Freitag, C. M., Retz-Junginger, P., Retz, W., Seitz, C., Palmason, H., Meyer, J. et al. (2007). Evaluation der deutschen Version des Autismus-Spektrum-Quotienten (AQ)—die Kurzversion. Zeitschrift Für Klinische Psychologie Und Psychotherapie, ACM, (pp. 280–289).  https://doi.org/10.1026/1616-3443.36.4.280
  20. Frith, U. (2012). Why we need cognitive explanations of autism. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65(11), 2073–2092.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2012.697178.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Frith, U., Happé, F., & Siddons, F. (1994). Autism and theory of mind in everyday life. Social Development, 3(2), 108–124.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9507.1994.tb00031.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hektner, J. M., Schmidt, J. A., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2007). Experience sampling method: Measuring the quality of everyday life. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hill, E. L., & Frith, U. (2003). Understanding autism: Insights from mind and brain. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 358(1430), 281–289.  https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2002.1209.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Hoekstra, R. A., Bartels, M., Verweij, C. J. H., & Boomsma, D. I. (2007). Heritability of autistic traits in the general population. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 161(4), 372–377.  https://doi.org/10.1001/archpedi.161.4.372.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Howard, B., Cohn, E., & Orsmond, G. I. (2006). Understanding and negotiating friendships: Perspectives from an adolescent with asperger syndrome. Autism, 10(6), 619–627.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361306068508.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Hurley, R. S. E., Losh, M., Parlier, M., Reznick, J. S., & Piven, J. (2007). The broad autism phenotype questionnaire. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(9), 1679–1690.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-006-0299-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Jamil, R., Gragg, M. N., & DePape, A.-M. (2017). The broad autism phenotype: Implications for empathy and friendships in emerging adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 111, 199–204.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2017.02.020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jaswal, V. K., & Akhtar, N. (2018). Being vs. appearing socially uninterested: Challenging assumptions about social motivation in autism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.  https://doi.org/10.1017/s0140525x18001826.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Kleberg, J. L., Högström, J., Nord, M., Bölte, S., Serlachius, E., & Falck-Ytter, T. (2017). Anxiety in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47(12), 3814–3821.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2978-z.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Kohls, G., Chevallier, C., Troiani, V., & Schultz, R. T. (2012). Social “wanting” dysfunction in autism: Neurobiological underpinnings and treatment implications. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 4(1), 10.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1866-1955-4-10.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. Kreider, C. M., Bendixen, R. M., Young, M. E., Prudencio, S. M., McCarty, C., & Mann, W. C. (2016). Social networks and participation with others for youth with learning, attention, and autism spectrum disorders. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 83(1), 14–26.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0008417415583107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Landry, O., & Chouinard, P. A. (2016). Why we should study the broader autism phenotype in typically developing populations. Journal of Cognition and Development, 17(4), 584–595.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15248372.2016.1200046.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lehrl, S. (2005). Mehrfachwahl-Wortschatz-Intelligenztest MWT-B. Balingen: Spitta-Verlag.Google Scholar
  34. Liew, S. M., Thevaraja, N., Hong, R. Y., & Magiati, I. (2015). Development and validation of measures of social phobia scrutiny fear and social interaction anxiety. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(3), 858–872.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2238-z.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Locke, J., Ishijima, E. H., Kasari, C., & London, N. (2010). Loneliness, friendship quality and the social networks of adolescents with high-functioning autism in an inclusive school setting. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 10(2), 74–81.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-3802.2010.01148.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. MacNeil, B. M., Lopes, V. A., & Minnes, P. M. (2009). Anxiety in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 3(1), 1–21.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2008.06.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Masters, G. N. (1982). A rasch model for partial credit scoring. Psychometrika, 47(2), 149–174.  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02296272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mattick, R. P., & Clarke, J. (1998). Development and validation of measures of social phobia scrutiny fear and social interaction anxiety. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 36(4), 455–470.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7967(97)10031-6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Mazurek, M. O. (2013). Social media use among adults with autism spectrum disorders. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(4), 1709–1714.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.02.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mazurek, M. O., Shattuck, P. T., Wagner, M., & Cooper, B. P. (2012). Prevalence and correlates of screen-based media use among youths with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(8), 1757–1767.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1413-8.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  41. Miller, G. (2012). The smartphone psychology manifesto. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7(3), 221–237.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691612441215.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Morrison, K. E., DeBrabander, K. M., Faso, D. J., & Sasson, N. J. (2019). Variability in first impressions of autistic adults made by neurotypical raters is driven more by characteristics of the rater than by characteristics of autistic adults. Autism.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361318824104.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Murray, A. L., Booth, T., McKenzie, K., Kuenssberg, R., & O’Donnell, M. (2014). Are autistic traits measured equivalently in individuals with and without an autism spectrum disorder? An invariance analysis of the autism spectrum quotient short form. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44, 55–64.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-013-1851-6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Nadkarni, A., & Hofmann, S. (2012). Why do people use facebook? Personality and Individual Differences, 52, 243–249.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Prizant-Passal, S., Shechner, T., & Aderka, I. M. (2016). Social anxiety and internet use—a meta-analysis: What do we know? What are we missing? Computers in Human Behavior, 62, 221–229.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.04.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. R Core Team. (2018). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Retrieved September 1, 2018, from https://www.R-project.org/.
  47. Ruzich, E., Allison, C., Smith, P., Watson, P., Auyeung, B., Ring, H., et al. (2015). Measuring autistic traits in the general population: A systematic review of the autism-spectrum quotient (AQ) in a nonclinical population sample of 6,900 typical adult males and females. Molecular Autism, 6, 2.  https://doi.org/10.1186/2040-2392-6-2.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  48. Sasson, N. J., Faso, D. J., Nugent, J., Lovell, S., Kennedy, D. P., & Grossman, R. B. (2017). Neurotypical peers are less willing to interact with those with autism based on thin slice judgments. Scientific Reports, 7, 40700.  https://doi.org/10.1038/srep40700.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  49. Sasson, N. J., Lam, K. S. L., Childress, D., Parlier, M., Daniels, J. L., & Piven, J. (2013). The broad autism phenotype questionnaire: Prevalence and diagnostic classification. Autism Research, 6(2), 134–143.  https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.1272.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  50. Shultz, S., Jones, W., & Klin, A. (2015). Early departures from normative processes of social engagement in infants with autism spectrum disorder. In A. Puce & B. I. Bertenthal (Eds.), The many faces of social attention: Behavioral and neural measures (pp. 157–177). Cham: Springer International Publishing.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-21368-2_6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Stachl, C., Hilbert, S., Au, J.-Q., Buschek, D., De Luca, A., Bischl, B., et al. (2017). Personality traits predict smartphone usage. European Journal of Personality, 31(6), 701–722.  https://doi.org/10.1002/per.2113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Stangier, U., Heidenreich, T., Berardi, A., Ulrike, G., & Hoyer, J. (1999). Development and validation of measures of social phobia scrutiny fear and social interaction anxiety. Zeitschrift Für Klinische Psychologie Und Psychotherapie, 28, 28–36.  https://doi.org/10.1026//0084-5345.28.1.28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tager-Flusberg, H. (1999). A psychological approach to understanding the social and language impairments in autism. International Review of Psychiatry, 11(4), 325–334.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09540269974203.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. van Schalkwyk, G. I., Marin, C. E., Ortiz, M., Rolison, M., Qayyum, Z., McPartland, J. C., et al. (2017). Social media use, friendship quality, and the moderating role of anxiety in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47(9), 2805–2813.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3201-6.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  55. Wainer, A. L., Block, N., Donnellan, M. B., & Ingersoll, B. (2013). The broader autism phenotype and friendships in non-clinical dyads. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(10), 2418–2425.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-013-1789-8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Developmental PsychologyLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  2. 2.Department of Statistics, Computational StatisticsLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  3. 3.Media Informatics GroupLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  4. 4.Department of Psychology, Methods and AssessmentLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany

Personalised recommendations