Autism Reality

Superior Non-Social Cognitive Abilities of Autistic Persons?

A recent Norwegian study has cast some doubt on the findings of earlier studies which had suggested that persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders possess superior non-social cognitive abilities – “earlier findings suggesting that individuals with autism spectrum disorders solve non-social cognitive tasks faster than typically developing control persons were not replicated.”


Autism, Vol. 11, No. 1, 81-92 (2007)
DOI: 10.1177/1362361307070988
© 2007 The National Autistic Society, SAGE Publications
Disembedding performance in children and adolescents with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism
Nils Kaland

Erik Lykke Mortensen

Lars Smith

Høgskolen i Lillehammer,Norway

The aim of the present study was to assess the findings, reported in earlier studies, that individuals with autism spectrum disorders process visuo-spatial tasks faster than typically developing control persons. The participants in the present study were children and adolescents with Asperger syndrome (AS) or high-functioning autism (HFA) (N = 13), and a matched group of typically developing children and adolescents (N = 13). The results showed that the participants in the clinical group performed marginally less well than those in the control group on both the Block Design Test and the Embedded Figures Test, but the differences were not statistically significant. Thus, earlier findings suggesting that individuals with autism spectrum disorders solve non-social cognitive tasks faster than typically developing control persons were not replicated. The results are discussed with special reference to the hypothesis of weak central coherence.

Key Words: Asperger syndrome • high-functioning autism • non-social cognitive tests • response times

May 5, 2007 Posted by | Asperger Syndrome, autism disorder, Erik Lykke Mortensen, high functioning autism, Lars Smith, Nils Kaland, non-social cognitive tasks | 5 Comments