Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Individuals With Autism May Excel at Math

A study in Biological Psychiatry provides new evidence that some individuals with high-functioning autism have enhanced cognitive ability in mathematics.

"The findings should remind clinicians, parents, and educators that the brains of individuals with autism could potentially be 'gifted' with superior abilities, math being one of them," the lead researcher told Psychiatric News. She is Teresa Luculano, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University.

Luculano and her colleagues also found that while autism subjects were solving math problems, their brains showed different patterns of activation than did the brains of controls while doing so. They were especially intrigued by their finding that the ventral-temporal-occipital cortex predicted math abilities in autism subjects, she said, since this area is "normally devoted to face processing, which other labs have shown to be hypo-activated in children with autism when processing faces and generally social stimuli."

Individuals with autism may also be gifted with an exceptionally sharp visual perception of moving objects. See the Psychiatric News article "Visual Perception Appears Heightened in autism."

(Image: Elena Elisseeva/Shutterstock.com)


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