The Sally-Anne test and other autism tests

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tepples
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The Sally-Anne test and other autism tests

Post by tepples » Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:48 am

In [url=http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?p=167910#p167910]this post[/url], BioMechanical Dude wrote:is there a test to determine [whether I'm on the autism spectrum] or something?
It might depend on whether you would have passed the Sally-Anne test in grade school. This test, developed by the cousin of the actor who played Borat, is intended to determine whether a child has a functioning theory of other minds. First a skit is presented to the child:

Sally removes a ball from her basket, shows it to Anne, and returns the ball to her basket.
Sally sets down the basket and leaves the area.
Anne removes the ball from Sally's basket and puts it in Anne's box.
Sally returns.

Then a couple control questions and the experimental question:

Where is the ball now?
Where was the ball when Sally left?
Where will Sally look for the ball?

A child is deemed to have "passed" if the child answers box, basket, basket, because that's the last place Sally saw it. A child is deemed to have "failed" if the child answers box, basket, box, because this is supposed to mean that the child isn't keeping track of Sally's mental state. Neurotypical children start "passing" in kindergarten or thereabouts; autistic children are said to be older when they first pass.

However, some advocates for autism rights dispute the test's validity, pointing out that it presupposes a lot of cultural information about the relationship between the characters. For example, someone could rationally answer box, basket, box, on the theory that it's actually Anne's ball and Sally was returning it, or that Anne has shown herself in the past to be a heel (rule breaker). I first discovered this angle on a blog titled "Field Notes on Allistics". (In the autism rights movement, "allism" refers to a neurological condition depicted as the polar opposite of autism, with the implication that society values allism despite the disabilities that can result from it.)

Eventually I plan to rewrite Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and the Three Bears as parodies of the Sally-Anne test. Here's what I have so far. (When I was first studying this test, I got sidetracked by Draw-A-Person.)

[End Sally-Anne rant]

There are other tests that may diagnose autism in teens and adults. Ask your psychologist which test is right for you.

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Re: The Sally-Anne test and other autism tests

Post by ccovell » Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:43 am

Good luck with the layers-upon-layers-upon-layers of -ism parodies...

You might think it's cleverer and more impressive the more you throw into your script, but really it'll just appear increasingly aimless to more people (it did to me). If a person needs a wiki to explain all the various intentions of a play, do you imagine the performance will be a success?

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Re: The Sally-Anne test and other autism tests

Post by dougeff » Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:58 am

I'm not 100% clear on the intent of your project. Is it to present a parody of the Sally-Anne test? Because, I feel like the test is somewhat obsolete... as psychologists focus on a wide variety of things in making a diagnosis...specifically, behaviors 'typical' of Autism, like repetitive behavior, preoccupation with toys (ie ignoring the psychologist), temper tantrums, poor social skills and language development...and less on theory of mind.

I think an apt parody of such testing, would be to present a situation where Autistic-like differences would present an advantage...

I can't think of a scenario at the moment. But, I think my point is clear.
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Re: The Sally-Anne test and other autism tests

Post by BioMechanical Dude » Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:24 am

Damn it! Never had that test when I was a kid. Guess I could ask a psychologist, but since I don't have a personal one, I don't feel like going through all the bullshit just to find one (there don't seem to be any in my town. My parents had to make an appointment with one in the nearest city, back when I was diagnosed with OCD). Oh, well...
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Re: The Sally-Anne test and other autism tests

Post by dougeff » Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:04 am

There's really no advantage for an adult to get a diagnosis.

A child with a diagnosis would have access to special 'skills classes' and therapies. They might also be given special allowances at school... like if things get too stressful, they can go to a more relaxing environment to settle down. (This might not be true in your country).

But, as an adult, most likely an Autism diagnosis will be a disadvantage in life. I wouldn't get tested, if I were you.
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Re: The Sally-Anne test and other autism tests

Post by tepples » Sat Apr 09, 2016 9:52 am

ccovell wrote:Good luck with the layers-upon-layers-upon-layers of -ism parodies...

You might think it's cleverer and more impressive the more you throw into your script, but really it'll just appear increasingly aimless to more people (it did to me).
You make a good point that I'm making Sesame Street, not Memento or Inception or Clue or Wayne's World, and we can do without the rewinds. So I simplified it by choosing one ending as canon. I left the superimposes because they also spoof preschool edutainment shows such as Dora the Explorer.
dougeff wrote:I'm not 100% clear on the intent of your project. Is it to present a parody of the Sally-Anne test?
I guess on one level, it can be read as a spoof of the misconception that a simple test can determine whether a child needs intervention to "treat" autism, a misconception that some curebie organizations have done little to dispel. I'll try to clarify this direction in revisions.
dougeff wrote:I think an apt parody of such testing, would be to present a situation where Autistic-like differences would present an advantage
Agreed. This is why one of the endings was a twist ending presenting a rational interpretation of the response traditionally considered typical of autistic children, and why I chose to use that ending. And after a bit of thought, I realized other opportunities for setting up "typical" autistic behavior and then subverting it. I don't know how to represent language delay in this manner, but I may be able to come up with a way to write the others in:
  • Repetitive behavior: Practicing music, sports, etc.
  • Ignoring the boring man: "Do we really need to be wasting time on this?"
  • Temper tantrums past toddler: Frustration with a parent with a habit of interrupting, where a tantrum is the only way to get a word in edgewise
  • Poor social skills: Being yelled at for failure to follow a Kafkaesque labyrinth of unwritten common practices that people in positions of authority refuse to explain when asked
dougeff wrote:There's really no advantage for an adult to get a diagnosis.
Depending on the vocational rehabilitation opportunities available in a given area, a diagnosis may help someone find a job.

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Re: The Sally-Anne test and other autism tests

Post by zzo38 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:14 am

I would choose the box, the basket, and "I don't know". It doesn't even presuppose that Sally will look for the ball, or that she somehow know that Anne moved it, or for some other reason; some other reasons are you have already listed. Therefore, we can show that such test are not so valid. I do not know what are the test designed to diagnose teens and adults but possibly they have some problems too I wouldn't know. Anyways I am not a psychologist!!! (But to be clear, I am having Asperger but this isn't quite autism)
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Re: The Sally-Anne test and other autism tests

Post by rainwarrior » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:20 am

You're missing the point of the test. The question is whether you understand that other people have different knowledge than you. It's not really a logic problem.

There are more ways of determining this. The test in question is just an example meant to illustrate the difference.

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Re: The Sally-Anne test and other autism tests

Post by tepples » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:45 am

And the point of the parodies, including the one on "Field Notes on Allistics" and my own, is that the location of the ball is not the only "different knowledge" that the characters have. It also includes aspects of the relationship between Sally and Anne that the classic test leaves unstated, such as to whom the ball belongs and Anne's reputation for honesty (or lack thereof). Hence the "I don't know" in zzo38's suggestion and the corresponding "Arrow toward '?'" in my script.

The expected trajectory as a neurotypical child matures is from a response showing no theory of mind ("in Anne's box") through a response showing very basic theory of mind ("in Sally's basket") to a response showing more nuanced theory of mind ("it depends"). Many autistic children hit these milestones as well, albeit later.

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Re: The Sally-Anne test and other autism tests

Post by BioMechanical Dude » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:11 am

dougeff wrote:There's really no advantage for an adult to get a diagnosis.
I'm not looking for advantages, I'm just curious. Besides, if I have any autism (which is unlikely), it'd probably be some kind of partial autism that doesn't mean anything. I'm not seeking help for anything, I'm fine when it comes to communicating and having theory of mind (I'm a bit socially awkward, but that's another story).
Analyzing why I would want to find it out leads me to believe that I may be making a subconscious connection between famous artists and scientists and some form of autism (quite a few seem to be somewhere on the spectrum) and perhaps this leads to a conclusion that having it in some form or another would mean a person is more original and creative, leading to some weird subconscious desire of being closer to them in that regard. I don't know. I'm weird and my subconscious (or any subconscious for that matter) could probably be making illogical conclusions like that. :/
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Re: The Sally-Anne test and other autism tests

Post by tepples » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:59 am

BioMechanical Dude wrote:Besides, if I have any autism (which is unlikely), it'd probably be some kind of partial autism that doesn't mean anything.
If you're like me, you'll end up with a diagnosis of "high-functioning autism spectrum disorder with no language delay", which is how you say "Asperger syndrome" in DSM-5 language. And the self-help shelf is full of books about coping with Asperger syndrome.
Analyzing why I would want to find it out leads me to believe that I may be making a subconscious connection between famous artists and scientists and some form of autism
That and it might help you "cope", which includes finding the way in which you learn best in this allistic-biased culture. I say "culture" because in a less-developed environment, bipolarity, OCD, ADD, dyslexia, and autism confer superpowers.

So anyway, did my edit to choose one path and stick with it make my script any easier to follow?

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Re: The Sally-Anne test and other autism tests

Post by BioMechanical Dude » Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:23 am

I don't think I have Asperger syndrome... Hmmm... I do have OCD though, but that's not on the autistic spectrum. Besides, I hate having it. I don't know what I'm talking about any more. :D I'm gonna have some potato balls now :P
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Re: The Sally-Anne test and other autism tests

Post by Myask » Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:27 pm

tepples wrote:
  • Poor social skills: Being yelled at for failure to follow a Kafkaesque labyrinth of unwritten common practices that people in positions of authority refuse to explain when asked
But that's the point, being a shibboleth+barrier to entry, whose function directly follows from its specific, no-other-benefit costs. "You must pay this much effort to enter and be admitted as a member of this class of person" [including the general class]. If they had other benefits, then one could get in by doing it for those other benefits, but that negates the power as a test of "did you value interaction with X type this much?".

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