Emotion-recognition and theory of mind in high-functioning children with ASD: relationships with attachment security and executive functioning

C. Sivaratnam, L. Newman, N. Rinehart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored the relationships that attachment security and executive functioning (EF) (working memory and inhibition) had with emotion-recognition and theory of mind (ToM) in children with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) aged between 6 and 12 years (n = 26), while controlling for cognitive ability. Group differences in attachment security were also explored in this group, compared to a typically-developing group (n = 27) matched on age and cognitive ability. Attachment security was not found to be significantly different between groups, however studies employing larger sample sizes are needed to further clarify this finding. Cognitive processes and attachment insecurity appear to relate to performance on structured behavioural measures of emotion-recognition and ToM differentially in children with high-functioning ASD and typically-developing children. Implications for the mechanisms underlying socio-emotional processes in childhood are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Attachment security
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Emotion-recognition
  • Executive functioning
  • Theory of mind

Cite this