Central Coherence: Is it a single construct, with a relationship to mentalising?
The past 20 years has seen much interest in the development of cognitive profiles and mentalising ability, particularly in how they may account for some characteristics of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Two of the most influential theories to date are: (i) Weak Central Coherence theory (WCC), which posits that those with WCC focus on detailed (local) features and fail to apply a global context in understanding their environment (Frith & Happe, 1994); and (ii) Theory of Mind (ToM), also referred to as ‘mentalising’, which relates to the ability to recognise ones’ own or others’ mental states (Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Hill, Rast & Plumb, 2001).
…show more content…
As the relationship between WCC and ToM in adults is still not fully understood, the aim of the present study is to provide more conclusive evidence in this area. In doing so, it has sought to use a testing measure which accounts for the limitations of EFT through a tool which allows for both local and global biases to be measured independently. Only through this process is it believed that certainty around whether the two biases exist in a unidimensional or multidemsional model can be ascertained. Based on the ability of Deruelle et al.’s (2006) Navon Figure Task to provide a context which allows for each processing type to be explicitly defined, a similar version of this test has been used in this experiment. Unlike the previous test however, adaptations have been made to allow for both local and global processing biases to be tested independently, as well as overcome the motor distractions which previously inhibited the use of response times. In addition to CC measures, an evaluation of ToM using a RET measure has been incorporated to enable an unambiguous interpretation of CC’s relationship with mentalising.
Based on the contradictions of past findings around a WCC and ToM relationship, as well as inclusive claims around