Those with Asperger’s syndrome commonly struggle to understand what others are thinking or feeling, but a new study indicates that they can often correctly identify another person’s state of mind if prompted.

British researchers observed a group of subjects with Asperger’s syndrome using a method called the Sally-Anne False Belief Test and determined that spontaneity may be the source of difficulty, rather than recognition.

In the test, subjects with Asperger’s were observed as they watched a person place an object in a box. Then, the person left the room and another individual came in and moved the object to a new box. Finally, the original person came back into the room to look for the object.

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Typically, people given this test assume that when the person returns, they will first check the box where they left the object. But in observing the eye movements of the study subjects with Asperger’s syndrome, researchers found that they looked blindly at all the boxes unsure where the person would look. When asked where they thought the person would look, however, the subjects correctly identified a preference for the first box.

The results, reported online in the journal Science, could help diagnose people with Asperger’s syndrome and suggest that those with the disorder could learn to better socialize, reports Scientific American. To read more click here.

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