Some psychopathological populations (e.g., people with autism or schizophrenia) show difficulties in understanding other people's minds and behaviors in terms of mental states. Explaining such difficulties from the perspective of Theory Theory or Simulation Theory has been a main research focus in the contemporary debate. However, although people with autism typically face difficulties in social understanding via mental state attribution, they are capable of making sense of other people's minds and behaviors by various other strategies, including embodied goal recognition, teleological reasoning, and social understanding via knowledge of conventional rules and stereotypes. Moreover, some people with autism may develop compensatory strategies to achieve social understanding in terms of mental states. Pluralist Theory trumps traditional theories in accounting vor the various social cognitive functions and dysfunctions in autism and the multifacetedness of autism spectrum disorder (Fiebich 2016).

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© Anika Fiebich