Essays on decision making by children and adults on the autistic spectrum

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dc.contributor.advisor Warglien, Massimo Balatel, Ana <1982> it_IT 2014-03-29T12:51:12Z 2015-04-07T13:58:32Z 2014-02-28
dc.description.abstract This thesis presents three essays on decision making by autistic individuals. In the first chapter we draw on the studies germane to decision making and autism to provide an extensive review focused on such crucial aspects as mentalizing, decision making under risk and uncertainty, learning in Autistic Spectrum Disorders (social learning; reinforcement learning), time (concept of time; intertemporal choice) and counterfactual emotions. The review is followed by two related experimental studies with patient population: 'E ects of Counterfactual Emotions on Decision Making of Individuals on the Upper End of the Autistic Spectrum' and 'Insights on Counterfactual Emotions of Autistic Individuals within Social Contexts'. There is a big array of feelings and counterfactual emotions which could result from assessing the outcome of social comparisons against ourselves and/or others. How do the individuals with autistic spectrum disorders process counterfactual emotions? Are they able to experience regret and relief, disappointment and joy? Are they able to account for these emotions? Do they process them the same way as the individuals with typical development? What do individuals on the autistic spectrum feel when comparing themselves to other people in a social context? And how do they process these social comparison emotions? We inquire into the behavioral and skin conductance responses within an autistic patient group and a typical development (TD) control group matched demographically, educationally and IQ-wise. We employ a gambling task to look into the participants' choices along with their subjective reports on the labeling of the emotion felt and intensity of their feelings. We learned that while the TD controls experienced regret more intensely than disappointment, there was not significant difference in the intensity of these two emotions for the ASD patients in our first experiment. Strikingly, in the private conditions the ASD patients accounted for weaker regret as compared to the TD controls, but increased shared regret associated with very positive feelings in the social condition. Still, in a social context appraisal, the subjective accounts in participants with ASD are not different from those of TD controls', implying preserved social feelings in the context of social comparison for the autistic individuals. Surprisingly, skin conductance responses mainly contradicted the subjective self-reports, showing more intense activity in the condition eliciting regret or relief, and less intense responses in the social context condition. Hence our results endorse the fact that individuals with ASD experience disruptive emotion processing and fail to fully integrate cognitive input and intrinsic information during decision making. it_IT
dc.language.iso eng it_IT
dc.publisher Università Ca' Foscari Venezia it
dc.rights © Ana Balatel, 2014 it_IT
dc.title Essays on decision making by children and adults on the autistic spectrum it_IT
dc.type Doctoral Thesis en Economia aziendale it_IT Dottorato di ricerca it Scuola superiore di Economia it_IT
dc.description.academicyear 2014 it_IT
dc.description.cycle 25 it_IT Comacchio, Anna
dc.location.shelfmark D001314 it
dc.location Venezia, Archivio Università Ca' Foscari, Tesi Dottorato it
dc.rights.accessrights openAccess it_IT
dc.thesis.matricno 955699 it_IT
dc.format.pagenumber X, 89 p. it_IT

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