The relationship between Theory of Mind and Relational Frame Theory: Convergence of perspective-taking measures

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Hendriks, A.L. ; Barnes-Holmes, Y. ; McEnteggart, C. ; Mey, H.R.A. De ; Witteman, C.L.M. ; Janssen, G.T.L. ; Egger, J.I.M. (2016)
  • Journal: (issn: 1724-4935)

Objective: Perspective-taking difficulties have been demonstrated in autism and schizophrenia spectrum disorders, among other clinical presentations, and are traditionally examined from a Theory of Mind (ToM) point of view. Relational Frame Theory (RFT) offers a behavioural and contextual interpretation of perspective-taking, proposing that this ability can be studied in more detail by examining specific perspective-taking relations. To implement relational perspective-taking measures in clinical practice, it is important to gain more knowledge about how these relate to traditional measures of perspective-taking. Method: The current study is focused on the relation between the Barnes-Holmes relational perspective-taking protocol and both the Faux-pas and the Strange Stories tests, in a sample of healthy controls and individuals with an anxiety disorder or psychotic disorder. The work expands upon earlier research in this field. Results: Our results showed that, across the whole sample, the Barnes-Holmes protocol was positively correlated with both the Faux-pas and the Strange Stories tests. Furthermore, the Barnes-Holmes protocol was found to predict ToM performance. Correlations between the Strange Stories test and the Barnes-Holmes protocol were non-significant when we corrected for intelligence. Conclusions: The evidence suggests that relational perspective-taking is strongly related to ToM performances. Results are compared to other RFT studies and implications for clinical practice are discussed.
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