Dilemmas and Bargains: Autism, Theory-of-Mind, Cooperation and Fairness
University College London - Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
David F. Sally
Mentalising is assumed to be involved in decision-making that is necessary to social interaction. We investigated the relationship between mentalising and two types of strategic games - those involving the choice to cooperate with another for joint gain or compete for own gain and those involving bargaining and division of a surplus - in children and adults with and without autistic spectrum disorders. The results suggest that strategic responses in the first type of game, the well-known prisoner's dilemma, are associated with mentalising ability. In contrast, generosity in bargaining tasks did not depend upon mentalising skills, but initial strategically unequal offers did. These two essential social games appeared to be differentially compensated for in high-functioning individuals with autistic spectrum disorders.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 74
Keywords: autism, game theory, bargaining, cooperation, dilemmas, theory-of-mind, experiments
JEL Classification: C72, C78, Z13, A12working papers series
Date posted: July 16, 2003
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