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Cognitive profiles in Asperger's disorder and autism

Hurlston, Rosie; (1997) Cognitive profiles in Asperger's disorder and autism. Doctoral thesis (D.Clin.Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The profiles of 16 children with autism and 23 children with Asperger's disorder were compared on the Kaufman-Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC), a standardised instrument used to measure general intelligence. Children's diagnoses were assigned in accordance with DSM-IV criteria for Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Significant differences in absolute terms were seen between the two groups. Subjects with Asperger's disorder had significantly higher Mental Processing Composite Scores (considered the best measure of overall intelligence provided by the K-ABC). The groups profiles were compared using chi-square, anovas of deviation from mean subtest scores and repeated measures anova to examine differences in the relative strengths and weaknesses characteristic of each group. A number of findings pointed to possible qualitative differences between the two groups. Asperger's disorder showed a preference for sequential over simultaneous processing, and the possibility that a field dependent cognitive style impaired performance on a group of three subtests. In contrast, a less pervasive preference in the opposite direction was seen for autism (simultaneous over sequential), and no impairment was seen on the three subtests, supporting the notion that individuals with autism may have field independent styles or weak central coherence. A subsidiary study of nine subjects with Asperger's disorder and eleven subjects with autism examined performance on theory of mind, executive function and central coherence measures, and placed the individuals in subgroups according to social type. Conclusions from this part of the study were severely limited by sampling problems.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Clin.Psy
Title: Cognitive profiles in Asperger's disorder and autism
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology; Asperger's disorder; Autism; Cognitive profiles
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099525
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