Brief report: Thought disorder in asperger syndrome: Comparison with high-functioning autism

  • Mohammad Ghaziuddin
  • Lisa Leininger
  • Luke Tsai
Brief Reports


Asperger syndrome (AS) is a pervasive developmental disorder generally regarded as a variant of autism. While it has been included in the ICD-10 and DSM-IV as a distinct diagnostic entity, it is still unclear to what extent it differs from highfunctioning autism (HFA). Persons with HFA have been reported to show a variety of deficits of thought processes. Abnormalities such as poor reality testing, perceptual distortions, and areas of cognitive slippage have been described using the Rorschach inkblot test (Dykens, Volkmar, & Glick, 1991). Since AS has been conceptualized as a mild variant of autism, we hypothesized that persons with AS will have fewer abnormalities on the Rorschach test compared to persons with HFA. To test this hypothesis, we compared 12 subjects with AS (ICD-10, 10 male, mean age = 12.2±3.3 years, mean full-scale IQ = 99.6) with 8 subjects with HFA (ICD-10/DSM-III-R, 7 male, mean age = 12.2±3.8 years, mean fullscale IQ = 83.4) on the Rorschach test. AS subjects demonstrated a trend towards greater levels of disorganized thinking than the HFA group. They were also more likely to be classified as “Introversive” suggesting that AS subjects may have more complex inner lives involving elaborate fantasies. Also, AS subjects tended to be more focused on their internal experiences. However, overall, the Rorschach test was not found to differentiate the two diagnostic groups on the majority of structural variables. Implications of these findings are discussed with regard to the diagnostic validity of Asperger syndrome.


Diagnostic Group Asperger Syndrome Internal Experience Pervasive Developmental Disorder Reality Testing 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Ghaziuddin
    • 1
  • Lisa Leininger
    • 1
  • Luke Tsai
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity of Michigan HospitalsAnn Arbor

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