Autism children better at problem solving

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Autistics, children with autism, are up to 40% faster at problem solving than non autistics, according to a new Universit? de Montr?al and Harvard University study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping.

As part of the investigation, participants were asked to complete patterns in the Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices (RSPM) ? 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 Souli?res, a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University who completed the experiment at the Universit? de Montr?al.

“Some critics agued that autistics would be unable to complete the RSPM because of its complexity, yet our study shows autistics complete it as efficiently and have a more highly developed perception than non-autistics.”

Fifteen autistics and 18 non-autistics were recruited for the study.

Participants were 14 to 36 years old and matched according to their preliminary results on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. All subjects underwent magnetic resonance imaging to explore their neural activity during RSPM problem-solving.

“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 Universit? de Montr?al and psychiatry professor.

Source: University of Montreal, Canada

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