We examined the claim that children with autism have a ''weak drive for central coherence'' which biases them towards processing information at an analytic rather than global level. This was done by investigating whether children with autism would rapidly and automatically enumerate a number of dots presented in a canonical form, or count each dot individually to obtain the total. The time taken to count stimuli was compared across three participant groups: children with autism, children with moderate learning difficulties, and normally developing children. There were 22 children in each group, and individuals were matched across groups on the basis of verbal mental age. Results implied that children with autism did show a tendency towards an analytic level of processing. However, though the groups differed on measures of counting speeds, the number or children showing patterns of global or analytic processing did not differ significantly across the groups. Whether these results implicate a weak drive for central coherence in autism, which is both specific to, and pervasive in the disorder, is discussed.
|Translated title of the contribution||Counting abilities in autism: possible implications for central coherence theory|
|Pages (from-to)||25 - 37|
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders|
|Publication status||Published - 1997|