Theory of Autistic Mind: Unpicking Assumptions in Autistic Language Use Research

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Theory of mind, and a lack thereof, is understood to be an epistemological cornerstone of research into not only autistic language (use) but also into autism itself. Moreover, ‘fully functioning’ theory of mind is acknowledged as an essential feature of ostensive inferential communication. This talk explores what it might mean for previous, current and future research if, under a different gaze, our accepted construct of theory of mind is less robust than assumed. This talk aims to tease apart some of the assumptions at play within research into autistic language use. Empathy, at the heart of theory of mind, is itself a poorly defined construct, conflating state identification with affect sharing (Bird et al. 2017). Drawing upon contemporary theories and research emanating from areas such as critical autism studies and research involving co-participation with autistic individuals, an overview of theory of mind in relation to autism will be presented. Alternative accounts for the apparent lack of inferential abilities seen within autistic language use, such as the Double Empathy Problem (Milton 2012), will be outlined and the potentially constraining role of the autist’s interlocutor explored (Sterponi and de Kirby 2016). Finally this talk will address how Relevance Theory might begin to offer an alternative explanation of the differences observed in autistic language use through an exploration of what constitutes mutual manifestness (Sperber and Wilson 1986/1995)
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event8th International Conference on Intercultural Pragmatics and Communication (INPRA 2018) -
Duration: 8 Jun 201810 Jun 2018
http://inpra2018.org/

Conference

Conference8th International Conference on Intercultural Pragmatics and Communication (INPRA 2018)
Period8/06/1810/06/18
Internet address

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