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Evaluation of Baron-Cohen

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Ellie Plane

on 19 March 2013

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Transcript of Evaluation of Baron-Cohen

Quasi Experiment allows for research into naturally occurring phenomena.
This increases the ecological validity of the research!

By using matched pairs design, Baron-Cohen could control a variety of participant variables, i.e (normal and Tourette's Syndrome ps aged matched with autistic ps)
Reduced order effects as tasks changed regularly. Strengths of method and design The data is quantitative as the results are the number of children that got the belief question correct. Strengths of data - This quantitative data leaves no room for rich data on why the results are like they are Weaknesses of data - Group 1 is unrepresentative because of the gender imbalance (although in reality males are more likely to be diagnosed with Autism.) Weaknesses of sample Weaknesses of method and design A Weakness of the researcher is that there is NOT complete control over the IV . In addition participants are likely to be aware of the study taking place so high risk of demand characteristics.

Ps only asked to study the eyes when in reality individuals use the whole face to gauge emotions, putting the group at a disadvantage. Evaluation of Baron-Cohen Kalinda, Emily, Billie and Ellie Strengths Weaknesses How useful the research was Strengths of the study Strengths of the sample Weaknesses of the study + This allows the researchers to easily portray the theory that more autistic children would get the question wrong + No misinterpretation of the data because it is all numbers so it is objective and not subject to interpretations + Allows the researchers to measure and analyze data - This is a much narrower field of data compared to qualitative where lots of different data can be collected - Can't understand the reasons behind the behaviour of the child - Not open to subjective opinions Group 1 = 16 participants, Group 2 = 50 participants and Group 3 = 10 participants + Group 2 are representative because they have an equal gender balance + Males are more likely to be diagnosed as autistic so Group 1s ratio is representative (13:3, M:F) + Group 2 were a random sample so there was an equal chance of them being selected + Group 3 mirrored the gender ratio of Group 1 so there was consistency throughout the groups + The groups cover high functioning autism, Aspergers, Taurettes and 'normal' people - Group 1 were acquired using the self selection method, this is unrepresentative. - Although group 2 were acquired through the random sampling method, all of the target population may not have been included in the selection process. - The size of all of the groups is also a weakness because not only are they very small, but they are also not the same (16,50,10). - The sample are from Cambridge, this is a representative sample ONLY of Cambridge, not of the whole population. Research was useful as it was high in ecological validity which shows it is true to real life. However it was a lab experiment which could have also lead to lower ecological validity and reduced usefulness. - The method was experimental which allows for cause and effect to be shown. - Some participants were tested in a lab at a university which means it wouldn't have been the Ps natural surrounding therefore effecting performance and results. - The eye task is an advanced ToM task and the photographs are static which isn't what it is like in real life which could have effected the results of the task. It provides more evidence that people suffering from autism have a lack of ToM. Teaching can be developed to help autistic children develop a ToM. This study allows people who aren't autistic understand the behaviours of an autistic person. - Variables were controlled, for example intelligence, sex and disorder were all controlled. This allowed researchers to ensure that the differences between the scores of the three groups of participants were something to do with being autistic. - Even though there was a small sample size, we can consider whether the results of such high functioning people with autism can be generalised to other people with autism. - The validity of the eye task can be questioned because it is a task which is much simpler to understand than real life situations and therefor may not be an actual test of ToM. -
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