Inter-Group Bias Project

In this project, we will investigate the effect of inter-group bias on spontaneous mentalizing in neurotypical and autistic individuals.

It has long been thought that autism is characterised by a core deficit in mentalizing; that is, representing the mental states of oneself and others’ to predict and understand behaviour. However, this mentalizing deficit theory has recently been challenged.

It has been well documented that neurotypical individuals have a propensity to show in-group favouritism during social interactions. This favouritism has been found to extend to mentalizing; neurotypical adults seem to be less likely to attribute minds to out-group members (Hackel et al., 2014). Therefore, it is possible that the mentalizing deficits that have been observed to date in autistic people are because studies have required participants to represent the mental state of a presumably neurotypical individual. Consequently, in this project we will investigate in-group / out-group (e.g. diagnostic status – autistic vs neurotypical) effects on spontaneous mentalizing in neurotypical and autistic individuals.

Email Hannah Partington at hannah.partington.19@ucl.ac.uk if you would like to find out more!