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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mind Reading? ^

Mind Reading is a new interactive educational resource, designed to help people learn about emotions. It contains 412 different emotional concepts, each one expressed by six actors using the face and the voice. There are also mini-stories to provide contexts. So there are 2472 faces, 2472 voices and 2472 stories, all about emotions on this one DVD-ROM.

Who is Mind Reading for? ^

Although Mind Reading was developed with the needs of those on the autism spectrum in mind, it is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to improve their recognition and understanding of emotions. Actors, illustrators, advertisers and communications experts - in fact anyone whose business involves understanding how people feel - will all find Mind Reading a unique and useful resource.

Who developed it? ^

Mind Reading was developed by a team of scientists at Cambridge University led by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen. They combed the English language and found more than 1000 words that described human emotions. From this large number they eventually settled, after much testing, on 412 “emotion concepts” that they found to be distinct. This project was made possible by funding from The Shirley Foundation. It has taken 18 months to produce.

How does Mind Reading help people on the autism spectrum? ^

People on the autism spectrum frequently have difficulty “reading” people’s faces and voices. This can make social interaction extremely difficult. Research by Professor Baron-Cohen and others has shown that emotions can be learned by people who have problems in this area. Mind Reading provides opportunities to study emotions through the use of video clips, stories and voices. Quizzes and lessons enable this learning to be tested.

Ofer Golan and Simon Baron-Cohen have been evaluating Mind Reading as an emotion recognition intervention with adults and children with ASD. The paper is available in PDF format here:
Systemizing empathy: Teaching adults with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism to recognize complex emotions using interactive multimedia

What's the difference between Mind Reading and the Emotions Library? ^

The Emotions Library is part of Mind Reading, but is also available on its own. You might want to purchase the Emotions Library if you are not interested in the quizzes, lessons and games found in Mind Reading.

What is on the DVD-ROM? ^

The DVD consists of three areas: the Emotions Library, The Learning Centre and the Games Zone. The Emotions Library is a visual dictionary of emotions; the Learning Centre includes lessons and quizzes to consolidate learning and The Games Zone is a non-competitive fun way to practise the learning.

Is it suitable for all ages? ^

Mind Reading was trialled with people from 4 years upwards, and is suitable for an age range from 4 years old through to adult. There are six levels to choose from enabling each person to begin at their own level. Three different helpers are available to suit different tastes and ages.

Are all emotions included? ^

Although there are 412 emotions, not all emotions are included at every level. In addition, when using the “child helper”, an automatic filter operates excluding words of an inappropriate nature. You can also impose your own filters using “Mind Reading Manager” - details of this are in the User Guide. Altogether over 1000 emotions are mentioned on the DVD (many as “similar emotions” in the definitions of the 412 core concepts).

Can I change anything myself? ^

In the Learning Centre it is possible to build your own lessons, enabling you to concentrate on emotions you are interested in. Additionally there is a note-making facility where you can detail your triumphs and obstacles, or your own stories that illustrate the emotions studied. Finally there is a scrapbook. Here you can “paste in” images and voices from the DVD to form your own personalised collection

Can the user work alone or do they need a helper? ^

In Mind Reading you can select a variety of narrators to help you navigate Mind Reading and to encourage you where necessary. There is an adult helper, a child helper and a robot cartoon character Emoto, who appears as an image as well as a voice. Alternatively you can elect to have no helper at all. Even with the helpers some individuals may need the support of another person, depending on their ability to work independently.

Won't it get boring? ^

We don't think so. All the quizzes are randomly generated within the confines of the level chosen, so it isn’t possible to learn the answers by heart. Because there are six levels and 412 emotions, there is plenty of room for progress. In addition, we have devised a set of collectible rewards including birds, butterflies, trains and musical instruments that provides an incentive to study emotions and to complete lessons successfully.

Should I buy a DVD-ROM or a CD-ROM? ^

Both contain the same information. Your choice depends on the machine you have. To use the DVD-ROM you need a DVD-ROM drive on your computer. These can be purchased separately as an add-on for less than £50. If you do not have a DVD-ROM drive, you can purchase the CD-ROM set. This consists of 4 CDs that have to be installed onto the hard drive. To use Mind Reading all four have to be installed and this takes up 2.5 Gigabytes of space on the hard drive of your computer. Additional computer specifications can be found here.

Do I have to be a computer wiz to install this? ^

No! The booklet in the pack gives clear installation instructions. If you have any problems though, you can contact support.

Where can I buy Mind Reading? ^

Purchasing details can be found here.

Which licence should I purchase? ^

If you are intending to install Mind Reading on one computer, a Single-user Licence is all you need. If you plan on installing Mind Reading on more than one computer, you can purchase a site licence which give you permission to use Mind Reading in one geographical location. Note that Mind Reading cannot be networked, and you will need to install it on each machine that uses Mind Reading.