Advertisement

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 679–689 | Cite as

Quantification Judgement in High Functioning Autism: Superior or Different?

  • Louise Gagnon
  • Laurent Mottron
  • Louis Bherer
  • Yves Joanette
Article

Abstract

This study examined the hypothesis of superior quantification abilities of persons with high functioning autism (HFA). Fourteen HFA individuals (mean age: 15 years) individually matched with 14 typically developing (TD) participants (gender, chronological age, full-scale IQ) were asked to quantify as accurately and quickly as possible numerosities, represented by the number of squares (2–9) presented in random configurations. In addition, the visual angles of stimuli presentation were manipulated in order to induce a local (large visual angle) and a global (small visual angle) bias on participants’ quantification performance (accuracy and naming time). Findings revealed no effect of local and global bias of stimuli presentation in the two groups’ performance, and no superior quantification abilities in HFA participants. However, analyses of the naming time slopes for identification by HFA participants of small consecutive numerosities (2–5), suggested their use of counting processes instead of subitizing (or immediate apprehension of numerosities) as in TD participants. Possible explanations for these results are discussed with reference to models of locally-oriented information processing in autism.

Keywords

High functioning autism special abilities subitizing counting hierarchical perception 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Akin, O., Chase, W. 1978Quantification of three-dimensional structuresJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance4397410Google Scholar
  2. Atkinson, J., Campbell, F. W., Francis, M. R. 1976The number 4 ± 0: A new look at the visual numerosity judgmentsPerception5327334Google Scholar
  3. Balakrishnan, J. D., Ashby, F. G. 1991Is subitizing a unique numerical abilityPerception and Psychophysics50555564Google Scholar
  4. Balakrishnan, J. D., Ashby, F. G. 1992Subitizing: Magical numbers or mere superstitionPsychological Research548090Google Scholar
  5. Bertone, A., Mottron, L., Jelenic, P., Faubert, J. 2003Motion perception in autism: A complex issueJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience,1521825Google Scholar
  6. Burack, J. A., Iarocci, G., Bowler, D., Mottron, L. 2002Benefits and pitfalls in the merging of disciplines: The example of developmental psychopathology and the study of persons with autism.Development and Psychopathology14225237Google Scholar
  7. Chi, M. T. H., Klahr, D. 1975Span and rate of apprehension in children and adultsJournal of Experimental Child Psychology19434439Google Scholar
  8. Cipolotti, L., Butterworth, B., Denes, G. A. 1991A specific deficit for numbers in case of dense acalculiaBrain11426192637Google Scholar
  9. Dehaene, S. 1992Varieties of numerical abilitiesCognition44142Google Scholar
  10. Dehaene, S., Cohen, L. 1994Dissociable mechanisms of subitizing and counting: Neuropsychological evidence from simultagnosic patientsJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance20958975Google Scholar
  11. Folk, C. L., Egeth, H., Kwak, H. W. 1988Subitizing: Direct apprehension or serial processingPerception and Psychophysics44313320Google Scholar
  12. Frith, U. 1989Autism: Explaining the enigmaBasil-BlackwellOxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Frith, U., Happé, F. 1994Autism: Beyond the “theory of mind”Cognition50115132Google Scholar
  14. Gelman, R., Meck, E., Merkin, S. 1986Young children’s numerical competenceCognitive Development1129Google Scholar
  15. Gelman, R., Tucker, M. F. 1975Further investigation of the young child’s conception of numberChild Development1129Google Scholar
  16. Happé, F. G. 1999Autism: Cognitive deficit or cognitive styleTrends in Cognitive Sciences3216222Google Scholar
  17. Heaton, P., Hermelin, B., Pring, L. 1998Autism and pitch processing: A precursor for savant musical abilityMusic Perception15291305Google Scholar
  18. Heavey, L., Pring, L., Hermelin, B. 1999A date to remember: The nature of memory in savant calendrical calculatorsPsychological Medecine2914560Google Scholar
  19. Hermelin, B., O’Connor, N. 1986Idiot savant calculators: Rules and regularitiesPsychological Medicine16885893Google Scholar
  20. Hermelin, B., O’Connor, N. 1990Factor and primes: A specific numerical abilityPsychological Medecine20163169Google Scholar
  21. Jarrold, C., Russell, J. 1997Counting abilities in autism: Possible implications for central coherence theoryJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders272537Google Scholar
  22. Joliffe, T., Baron-Cohen, S. 1997Are people with autism and Asperger syndrome faster than normal on the embedded figures testJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry38527534Google Scholar
  23. Kauffman, E. L., Lord, M. W., Reese, T. W., Volkmann, J. 1949The discrimination of visual numberAmerican Journal of Psychology62498525Google Scholar
  24. Kelly, S. J., Macaruso, P., Sokol, S. 1997Mental calculation in an autistic savant: A case studyJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology19172184Google Scholar
  25. Kimchi, L. 1992Primacy of wholistic processing and global/local paradigm: A critical reviewPsychological Bulletin1122438Google Scholar
  26. Kinchla, R. A., Wolfe, J. M. 1979The order of visual processing: “Top-down”, “bottom-up”, or “middle-out”Perception and Psychophysics25225231Google Scholar
  27. Lord, C., Rutter, M., & DiLavore, P. (1997). Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic (ADOS-G).Google Scholar
  28. Lord, C., Rutter, M., LeCouteur, A. 1994Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised: A revised version of a diagnostic interview for caregivers of individuals with possible pervasive developmental disordersJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders24659686Google Scholar
  29. Lord, C., Rutter, M., Goode, S., Heemsbergen, J., Jordan, H., Mawhood, L., Schopler, E. 1989Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule: A standardized observation of communicative and social behaviorJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders19185212Google Scholar
  30. Mandler, G., Shebo, B. J. 1982Subitizing: An analysis of its component processesJournal of Experimental Psychology: General111121Google Scholar
  31. Miller, L. K. 1999The savant syndrome: Intellectual impairment and exceptional skillPsychological Bulletin1253146Google Scholar
  32. Siegel, D. J., Minshew, N. J., & Goldstein, G. (1996). Wechsler IQ profile in diagnosis of high-functioning autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 389–406.Google Scholar
  33. Mottron, L., Belleville, S. 1993Study of perceptual analysis in a high level autistic subject with exceptional graphic abilitiesBrain and Cognition23279309Google Scholar
  34. Mottron, L., Belleville, S., Ménard, É. 1999aLocal bias in autistic subjects as evidenced by graphic tasks: Perceptual hierarchisation of working memory deficitJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry,40743755Google Scholar
  35. Mottron, L., Burack, J. A., Stauder, H., Robaey, P. 1999bPerceptual processing among high-functioning persons with autismJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry,40203211Google Scholar
  36. Mottron, L., Burack, J. 2001Enhanced perceptual functioning in the development of autismBurack, J. A. Charman, T.Yirmiya, N. Zelazo,  P. R. eds. The development of autism: Perspectives from theory and researchErlbaumMahwah, N.J131148Google Scholar
  37. Mottron, L., Peretz, I., Ménard, É. 2000Local and global processing of music in high-functioning persons with autismJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry4110571065Google Scholar
  38. Mottron, L., Burack, J., Iarocci, G., Belleville, S., Enns, J. 2003Evidence from multiple paradigms about the perceptual functioning of high functioning children with autismJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry44906913Google Scholar
  39. O’Connor, N., Hermelin, B. 1989The memory structure of autistic idiot-savant mnemonistsBritish Journal of Psychology8097111Google Scholar
  40. O’Riordan, M. A., Plaisted, K.C., Driver, J., Baron-Cohen, S. 2001Superior visual search in autismJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.2771930Google Scholar
  41. Plaisted, K. 2001Reduced generalisation in autism: An alternative view to weak central coherenceBurack, J. A.Charman, T.Yirmiya, N.Zelazo, P. R. eds. The development of autism: Perspectives from theory and researchErlbaumMahwah, NJ149168Google Scholar
  42. Plaisted, K., O’Riordan, M., Baron-Cohen, S. 1998aEnhanced discrimination of novel, highly similar stimuli by adults with autism during a perceptual taskJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry,39765775Google Scholar
  43. Plaisted, K., O’Riordan, M., Baron-Cohen, S. 1998bEnhanced visual search for a conjunctive target in autism : A research noteJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry,39777783Google Scholar
  44. Plaisted, K., Swettenham, J., Rees, L. 1999Children with autism show local precedence in a divided attention task and global precedence in a selective attention taskJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry40733742Google Scholar
  45. Rumsey, J., Hamburger, S. 1990Neuropsychological divergence of high-level autism and severe dyslexiaJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders20155168Google Scholar
  46. Russell, J., Jarrold, C., Henry, L. 1996Working memory in children with autism and with moderate learning difficultiesJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry37673686Google Scholar
  47. Sacks, O. 1985The man who mistook his wife for a hatDuckworthLondonGoogle Scholar
  48. Shah, A., Frith, U. 1983An islet of ability in autistic children: A research noteJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry24613620Google Scholar
  49. Simons, D., Langheinrich, D. 1982What is magic about the magical number fourPsychological Research44283294Google Scholar
  50. Turner, M. 1997Towards an executive dysfunction account of repetitive behavior in autismRussell, J. eds. Autism as an executive disorderOxford University PressOxford57100Google Scholar
  51. Trick, L. M., Pylyshyn, Z. W. 1993What enumeration studies can show us about spatial attention: Evidence for limited capacity preattentive processingJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance19331351Google Scholar
  52. Trick, L. M., Pylyshyn, Z. W. 1994Why are small and large numbers enumerated differently? A limited capacity preattentive stage in vision.Psychological Review10180102Google Scholar
  53. Wechsler, D. 1981WAIS-R Manual: Wechsler adult intelligence scale-revisedPsychological CorporationNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  54. Wechsler, D. 1994WISC-III Manual: Wechsler intelligence scale for children-third editionPsychological CorporationNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  55. World Health Organization (1993).International classification of diseases: Tenth revision. Chapter V. Mental and behavioral disorders (including disorders of psychological development). Diagnostic criteria for research. Geneva : World Health Organization.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louise Gagnon
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Laurent Mottron
    • 2
    • 4
  • Louis Bherer
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yves Joanette
    • 3
    • 5
  1. 1.Département de PsychologieUniversité de MontréalCanada
  2. 2.Clinique Spécialisée des Troubles Envahissants du DéveloppementHôpital Rivière-des-PrairiesMontréalCanada
  3. 3.Centre de Recherche de l’InstitutUniversitaire de Gériatrie de MontréalMontréalCanada
  4. 4.Département de PsychiatrieUniversité de MontréalCanada
  5. 5.Departement d’audiologie-orthophonie, Faculté de Médecine Université de MontréalCanada

Personalised recommendations