Lyssa Haase

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

John McNeill

Second Advisor

Fernand Lubuguin

Third Advisor

James Langley


Relational Frame Theory, Perspective-taking, Prosocial responsiveness, Empathy, Autism spectrum disorder


Perspective-taking involves the ability to shift one's visual-spatial and affective stance relative to contextual cues. Empathy responses leading to socio-emotional reciprocity depend intimately on perspective-taking processes. Deficits in perspective-taking have been widely documented in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and are commonly regarded to underlie impaired interpersonal functioning in this population. The most widely used frameworks for understanding ASD derive from a cognitive science program called Theory of Mind (ToM), and from an applied behavior analytic program based on Operant Theory (OT). Recent research interest has centered on a contemporary contextual behavior analytic approach to perspective taking drawing upon Relational Frame Theory (RFT), with explicit focus on deictic relational frame training. This paper suggests that perspective-taking training leading to the development of elaborated deictic framing abilities may offer an advantage over existing modes of intervention for training perspective-taking, empathy, and ultimately improving quality of life among individuals with ASD.

Publication Statement

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44 pages