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This concept originally began many years ago in nonhuman primate research with the question: Does one chimpanzee understand that another chimpanzee has a mind different than his own, capable of having different thoughts and intentions? The answer, for chimps, appears largely to be no. The question was then raised in regard to persons with autism. Numerous studies using a "false belief" paradigm have reported that autistic children may fail the task but that less socially handicapped autistic persons will not. The latter finding may be due to the tasks being relatively easy to solve. While it has been useful in making specific predictions about the impairments in socialization, imagination, and communication shown by people with autism, it does not provide an explanation of why this might be so.

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