Thursday, June 18, 2009
People With Autism Better at Problem Solving
A new study done by Harvard and University of Montreal compared the abilty of 15 Autistics and 18 non-autistics in completing the Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices (RSPM) - a test that measures hypothesis-testing, problem-solving and learning skills.
"While both groups performed RSPM test with equal accuracy, the autistic group responded more quickly and appeared to use perceptual regions of the brain to accelerate problem-solving," says lead author Isabelle Soulières, a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University who completed the experiment at the Université de Montréal. Critics of the study said that autistic people would not be able to complete the test because of its complexity. The study showed that Autistics could complete the test as efficiently and had more highly developed perception than non-Autistics.
"This study builds on our previous findings and should help educators capitalize on the intellectual abilities of autistics," says senior researcher Laurent Mottron, the new Marcel & Rolande Gosselin Research Chair in Autism Cognitive Neuroscience of the Université de Montréal and psychiatry professor. "The limits of autistics should constantly be pushed and their educational materials should never be simplified." The researchers hypothesized that Autistics would be able to complete the complex test and surpassed their expectations.
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