Spatial cognition in autism spectrum disorders: Superior, impaired, or just intact?

Jamie O. Edgin, Bruce F. Pennington

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

110 Scopus citations

Abstract

The profile of spatial ability is of interest across autism spectrum disorders (ASD) because of reported spatial strengths in ASD and due to the recent association of Asperger's syndrome with Nonverbal Learning Disability. Spatial functions were examined in relation to two cognitive theories in autism: the central coherence and executive function (EF) theories. Performance on spatial tasks, EFs, and global/local processing was compared in children with ASD and controls. While the ASD group had faster reaction times on the Embedded Figures task, spatial performance was intact, but not superior, on other tasks. There was no evidence for impairments in EF or in processing global/local information, therefore contradicting these two theories. The implications of these results for these two theories are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-745
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume35
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Asperger's syndrome
  • Autism
  • Central coherence
  • Executive function
  • Spatial cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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