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      The clinical utility of social information processing theory in assessing and treating offenders with autism spectrum disorder


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          Social deficits are central within conceptualisations of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and separately linked to offending behaviour. Social problem-solving interventions are often used with offenders, but little research has examined the social information processing (SIP) skills of individuals with ASD and a history of criminal offending behaviours. The paper aims to discuss this issue.


          This conceptual paper will introduce the SIP model, review SIP research as applied to those with ASD and in forensic populations, and further consider the relevance to the assessment and treatment of offenders with ASD.


          Difficulties in all areas of the SIP model are noted in ASD and research suggests these difficulties may be directly linked to behaviour.

          Practical implications

          It is possible that identifying SIP abilities and deficits could improve the effectiveness of rehabilitation programmes for this group.


          This paper reviews the utility of social information models in the offending behaviour of people with ASD.

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          Most cited references108

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          The evolution of foresight: What is mental time travel, and is it unique to humans?

          Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 30(3), 299-313 In a dynamic world, mechanisms allowing prediction of future situations can provide a selective advantage. We suggest that memory systems differ in the degree of flexibility they offer for anticipatory behavior and put forward a corresponding taxonomy of prospection. The adaptive advantage of any memory system can only lie in what it contributes for future survival. The most flexible is episodic memory, which we suggest is part of a more general faculty of mental time travel that allows us not only to go back in time, but also to foresee, plan, and shape virtually any specific future event. We review comparative studies and find that, in spite of increased research in the area, there is as yet no convincing evidence for mental time travel in nonhuman animals. We submit that mental time travel is not an encapsulated cognitive system, but instead comprises several subsidiary mechanisms. A theater metaphor serves as an analogy for the kind of mechanisms required for effective mental time travel. We propose that future research should consider these mechanisms in addition to direct evidence of future-directed action. We maintain that the emergence of mental time travel in evolution was a crucial step towards our current success.
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            Visual Fixation Patterns During Viewing of Naturalistic Social Situations as Predictors of Social Competence in Individuals With Autism

            Manifestations of core social deficits in autism are more pronounced in everyday settings than in explicit experimental tasks. To bring experimental measures in line with clinical observation, we report a novel method of quantifying atypical strategies of social monitoring in a setting that simulates the demands of daily experience. Enhanced ecological validity was intended to maximize between-group effect sizes and assess the predictive utility of experimental variables relative to outcome measures of social competence.
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              The cognitive neuroscience of constructive memory: remembering the past and imagining the future.

              Episodic memory is widely conceived as a fundamentally constructive, rather than reproductive, process that is prone to various kinds of errors and illusions. With a view towards examining the functions served by a constructive episodic memory system, we consider recent neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies indicating that some types of memory distortions reflect the operation of adaptive processes. An important function of a constructive episodic memory is to allow individuals to simulate or imagine future episodes, happenings and scenarios. Since the future is not an exact repetition of the past, simulation of future episodes requires a system that can draw on the past in a manner that flexibly extracts and recombines elements of previous experiences. Consistent with this constructive episodic simulation hypothesis, we consider cognitive, neuropsychological and neuroimaging evidence showing that there is considerable overlap in the psychological and neural processes involved in remembering the past and imagining the future.

                Author and article information

                Advances in Autism
                Emerald Publishing
                03 October 2016
                : 2
                Issue : 4 Issue title : Autism and offending behaviour Issue title : Autism and offending behaviour
                : 154-171
                [1]Partnerships in Care Learning Disability Services, Norfolk, UK
                [2]Tizard Centre, University of Kent , Canterbury, UK
                [3]The Broadland Clinic, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust , Norfolk, UK
                Author notes
                Verity Chester can be contacted at: verity.chester@partnershipsincare.co.uk
                586485 AIA-07-2016-0019.pdf AIA-07-2016-0019
                © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 122, Pages: 18, Words: 10946
                e-conceptual-paper, Conceptual paper
                cat-HSC, Health & social care
                cat-LID, Learning & intellectual disabilities
                Custom metadata


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