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Centre for Applied Autism Research Annual Lecture

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Department of Psychology

10 West, University of Bath

Combe Down

BA2 7AU

United Kingdom

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Centre for Applied Autism Research Annual Lecture


Are two heads better than one?

Dame Ute Frith and Professor Chris Frith

Abstract: Can groups of people really make better decisions than the best member of the group on their own? We will discuss research that suggests this is the case, under certain conditions. But what do we expect in the case of adults with autism? We hope to stimulate research on this topic by presenting a paradigm that has been tried and tested: two people have to detect a stimulus and have to come to a joined decision about when and where it occurred. This is compared with a situation where each individual makes their own decision. In previous experiments the secret of better joint decisions was found in the spontaneous alignment of confidence of the two partners. It would be interesting to find out whether autistic individuals also align their confidence. If so, this would throw light on their still little understood ability to imitate and to experience contagious empathy. We will discuss limitations of group decisions, including inappropriate alignment, and common biases that are hard to overcome.

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Department of Psychology

10 West, University of Bath

Combe Down

BA2 7AU

United Kingdom

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