Normal and pathological development of social cognition



Agence Nationale de la Recherche Baudouin Forgeot d'Arc, Paul Roux, Sanaa Moukawane, and several Master students.
Collaborators from Socodev project (Emmanuel Dupoux, Pierre Jacob...) External collaborators at Hôpital Robert Debré (Richard Delorme...) and CHU Versailles (Christine Passerieux).

I am interested in the development of social cognitive skills in children, and in their disruption in certain disorders (autism, schizophrenia).

In earlier work I investigated some aspects of perceptual processing in autism:

Milne, E., White, S., Campbell, R., Swettenham, J., Hansen, P. C., & Ramus, F. (2006). Motion and form coherence detection in autistic spectrum disorder: Relationship to motor control and 2:4 digit ratio. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36(2), 225-237. reprint

White, S., Frith, U., Milne, E., Rosen, S., Swettenham, J., & Ramus, F. (2006). A double dissociation between sensorimotor impairments and reading disability: A comparison of autistic and dyslexic children.  Cognitive Neuropsychology, 23(5), 748-761. reprint

Järvinen-Pasley, A., Wallace, G. L., Ramus, F., Happé, F., & Heaton, P. (2008). Enhanced perceptual processing of speech in autism. Developmental Science, 11(1), 109-121. reprint

My team went on to explore how various cognitive states are extracted intuitively from simple visual scenes, and how these representations are used to draw inferences. We mainly explore three types of representations: 

  1. the representation of animacy, i.e. the difference between inanimate objects and self-propelled animate agents
  2. the representation of agents' goals in actions
  3. the representation of agents’ beliefs.

Our general approach is to use nonverbal stimuli and to contrast explicit verbal tasks with more implicit nonverbal measures such as eye fixations patterns, that are modulated by subjects’ expectations with respect to a social scene. We study these abilities in adults, their development in children, and their pathologies in autism (B. Forgeot d'Arc and collaborators) and in schizophrenia (P. Roux and collaborators).

Forgeot d'Arc, B., & Ramus, F. (2011). Belief attribution despite verbal interference. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64(5), 975-990. preprint

Roux, P., Passerieux, C., & Ramus, F. (2013). Kinematics matters: a new eye-tracking investigation of animated triangles. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66(2), 229-244.

Roux, P., Forgeot d’Arc, B., Passerieux, C., & Ramus, F. (2014). Is the Theory of Mind deficit observed in visual paradigms in schizophrenia explained by an impaired attention toward gaze orientation? Schizophrenia Research, 157, 78-83.

Roux, P., Passerieux, C., & Ramus, F. (2015). An eyetracking investigation of intentional motion perception in schizophrenia. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 40(2), 118-125.

Forgeot d’Arc, B., Ramus, F., Lefebvre, A., Brottier, D., Zalla, T., Moukawane, S., . . . Delorme, R. (2014). Atypical Social Judgment and Sensitivity to Perceptual Cues in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. doi: 10.1007/s10803-014-2208-5