Cognitive Mechanisms underlying visual perspective taking in typical and ASC children

Amy Pearson, Lauren E Marsh, Danielle Ropar, Antonia Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
443 Downloads (Pure)


Previous research has suggested that people with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) may have difficulty with visual perspective taking (VPT) but it is not clear how this relates to different strategies that can be used in perspective taking tasks. The current study examined VPT in 30 children with autism and 30 verbal mental age matched typical children, in comparison to mental rotation (MR) abilities and body representation abilities. Using a similar paradigm to Hamilton, Brindley, and Frith [2009] all children completed three tasks: a VPT task in which children decided what a toy on a table would look like from a different points of view; a MR task in which the child decided what a toy would look like after it had been rotated; and a body posture matching task, in which children matched pictures of a body shown from different viewpoints. Results showed that children with ASC performed better than the typically developing children on the MR task, and at a similar level on the VPT task and body matching task. Importantly, in the typical children VPT performance was predicted by performance on the body matching task, whereas in the ASC children VPT performance was predicted by MR ability. These findings suggest that differences in VPT in ASC may be explained by the use of a spatial rotation strategy rather than the embodied egocentric transformation strategy used by typical children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-130
Number of pages10
JournalAutism Research
Issue number1
Early online date6 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • autism spectrum conditions
  • visual perspective taking
  • mental rotation
  • embodied
  • cognitive mechanisms


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