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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 38, Issue 9, pp 1721–1730 | Cite as

When Prototypes Are Not Best: Judgments Made by Children with Autism

  • Catherine J. Molesworth
  • Dermot M. Bowler
  • James A. Hampton
Original Paper

Abstract

The current study used a factorial comparison experimental design to investigate conflicting findings on prototype effects shown by children with autism (Klinger and Dawson, Dev Psychopathol 13:111–124, 2001; Molesworth et al., J Child Psychol Psychiatry 46:661–672, 2005). The aim was to see whether children with high-functioning autism could demonstrate prototype effects via categorization responses and whether failure to do so was related to difficulty understanding ambiguous task demands. Two thirds of the autism group did show an effect. The remainder, a sub-group defined by performance on a control task, did not. The discussion focuses on the influence of heterogeneity within the autism group and the ability to resolve ambiguity on task performance. Finally, an alternative experimental design is recommended for further research into these issues.

Keywords

Autism Asperger syndrome Categorization Concepts Heterogeneity Prototype 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thanks are due to the participants and their teachers for their invaluable assistance. Molesworth would also like to thank Claire Simmons for her comments on the data and on an earlier draft of this paper. The data presented here was submitted by Catherine Molesworth as part of her Ph.D. thesis (Department of Psychology, City University).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine J. Molesworth
    • 1
  • Dermot M. Bowler
    • 1
  • James A. Hampton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCity UniversityLondonUK

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