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A pilot study of autistic and non-autistic adults’ systemizing in a learning task using observational measures of attention, misunderstanding, and reasoning

Published version
Peer-reviewed

Type

Article

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Authors

Parsons, Owen E. 

Abstract

This pilot study compared autistic (N = 15) and non-autistic (N = 19) adults in a systemizing (physics reasoning) task using observational measures of attention, reasoning, and communication. Autistic adults mentioned more non-salient details (autistic; M = 4.43, non-autistic; M = 0.89) and had a greater ratio of attention to non-social versus social stimuli (autistic; M = 5.70, non-autistic; M = 3.27). Misunderstandings were more frequent (autistic; M = 2.07, non-autistic; M = 0.47) and longer (autistic; M = 64.63 seconds, non-autistic; M = 5.89 seconds) for autistic adults. However, the form of reasoning employed in the task was similar for both groups. The results suggest that the autistic adults experienced the task differently and had more difficulties. Implications for inclusive educational environments are discussed. This pilot study is presented to encourage a larger scale study using these novel methods.

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Keywords

autism, attention, reasoning, misunderstanding, systemizing, physics

Journal Title

CERJ

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

2634-9876

Volume Title

9

Publisher

CERJ, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

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