A Clinical Assessment Tool for Advanced Theory of Mind Performance in 5 to 12 Year Olds

  • Anne E. O’Hare
  • Lynne Bremner
  • Marysia Nash
  • Francesca Happé
  • Luisa M. Pettigrew
Original Paper


One hundred forty typically developing 5- to 12-year-old children were assessed with a test of advanced theory of mind employing Happé’s strange stories. There was no significant difference in performance between boys and girls. The stories discriminated performance across the different ages with the lowest performance being in the younger children who nevertheless managed to achieve a third of their potential total. However, some of the individual mentalising concepts such as persuasion were too difficult for these younger children. This normative data provides a useful clinical tool to measure mentalising ability in more able children with autism spectrum disorder.


Advanced theory of mind Typical development Autism spectrum disorders 



This work was supported by the Community Child Health Endowment Fund, Royal Hospital for Sick Children Edinburgh and the Autism Research and Development Fund, Sick Kids Friends Foundation, Edinburgh.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne E. O’Hare
    • 1
  • Lynne Bremner
    • 2
  • Marysia Nash
    • 2
  • Francesca Happé
    • 3
  • Luisa M. Pettigrew
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Child Life and HealthUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  2. 2.Royal Hospital for Sick ChildrenEdinburghUK
  3. 3.Institute of PsychiatryKings CollegeDenmark Hill, LondonUK
  4. 4.Whittington VTSLondonUK

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