A British study suggests that creative thinking and autism are connected. Sufferers may be more inclined to think outside the box as compared to people who are not affected by the disorder.
When considering the abundance of autistic struggles and challenges, research focusing on the strengths of autism becomes indispensable. We mistakenly associate autism with logical thinking rather than creative expression.
Health professionals use a variety of diagnostic criteria when examining a child believed to be autistic. These criteria have always referenced one key element: the fact that the imagination of autism sufferers seems to be limited. Consequently, physicians may use this trait as a tell-tale sign when detecting the condition.
Although most research conducted in the field of autism has demonstrated that autism sufferers display remarkable qualities and skills in certain areas, such as mathematics, data processing as well as other areas that have to do with systematic methods and logic. A new study challenges this generalization and concludes that individuals who possess characteristics of autism are also more creative than those who do not.
The number of individuals who took the survey was of 75 diagnosed autism sufferers, whereas those without the condition were 237 – although a small part of the undiagnosed people displayed autistic traits during the study. The creativity of the participants of the study was tested by assigning them to seek interpretations of images designed to be perceived in more than only one way – such as the famous ambiguous image of the rabbit-duck.
Then, the participants were asked to name as many alternative functions as possible for ordinary objects such as bricks and paper clips. The researchers rated the participants’ answers according to their ingenuity and quantity. The result of the study? Compared to people without autism, those affected by the disorder generally came up with a considerably larger number of responses that also happened to be more strange.
In the same manner, when the participants of the study were asked to interpret abstract images in as many ways as possible, researchers learned that those found with autistic traits came up with more elaborate answers. The researchers also observed that autism sufferers use more strenuous methods to find answers to divergent thinking tasks and that is why they come up with fewer but more imaginative responses.
Around 1% of the world population may have autism spectrum disorder, a disorder than can lead to social, communication and behavioural deficits, states the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although people with autism may be gifted in certain ways, most of them can be severely challenged in some sectors of life.
In fortunate cases, mild autism can provide intellectual advantages and more severe cases of autism can be a great disability for an individual suffering from this condition.
Photo credits: 1