The Awareness of Social Inference Test (TASIT)
Written by Skye McDonald, Sharon Flanagan and Jennifer Rollins
The Awareness of Social Inference Test (TAST) originally developed by Skye McDonald and colleagues in Australia to assess people with brain injuries is suitable to assess social cognition in any population that may experience problems understanding social cues. This includes Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disorders, schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric conditions, congenital and acquired brain injuries and dementia. TASIT assesses social cognition using videos of naturalistic everyday conversations in which two actors interact. It has established ecological validity, reliability and construct validity and alternate forms for re-testing.
Assessment of social cognition typically requires an assessment of the ability to recognise emotions in another person as well as the ability to make theory of mind judgements, that is, understanding what another person is thinking or intending which includes understanding what a speaker intends when they say something indirectly. In TASIT social cognition is assessed by asking the participant to point to the correct category or emotion displayed by a speaker (Part 1) or by answering simple yes/no questions as to the feelings, thoughts, intentions of the speakers and the implied meaning of their remarks (Parts 2 and 3). The administration time for Parts 1-3 is approximately 60 minutes. An alternate short form of TASIT is also available which takes only 20 minutes. The assessment of social cognitive ability is completed by calculating a range of scores that are easily summated on the summary response sheets.
TASIT is one of very few tests of social cognition available with normative data. It has norms for around 400 adults. Form A of TASIT has data for adults ranging from 16 to 75+years of age while Form B has data for 16 to 40 years. It is also suitable for assessing social cognition in adolescents with normative data of around 650 adolescents aged from 13-15.
TASIT is suitable to assess social cognition for the purposes of diagnosing difficulties using social cues. Because it uses natural examples of social interactions it points directly to what kinds of social interactions the client may have difficulty with. In turn, the assessment of social cognition provided by TASIT can highlight targets for remediation. Indeed TASIT stimuli can be used as resources for intervention. Used in this way the alternate form can be used to assess social cognition post-intervention to document any improvements.