People with Autism Possess Greater Ability to Process Information
March 29, 2012
According to ScienceDaily.com people with Autism have an above average capacity to process information even from rapid presentations and are better able to detect information defined as ‘critical’, according to a study published March 22 in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. The research may help to explain the apparently higher than average prevalence of people with autism spectrum disorders in the IT industry. Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that affects social interaction, communication and learning; however, people with Autism have an increased ability to focus attention to certain tasks. Yet clinical reports backed up by some laboratory research show that these individuals can be more sensitive to the distracting effects of irrelevant stimuli, such as flashing lights or particular sounds, which can be easily ignored by people without the disorder.
Professor Nilli Lavie, from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL, hypothesises that this combination of the ability to focus and a susceptibility to distraction might be caused by a higher than normal information processing capacity.
“Our work on perceptual capacity in the typical adult brain suggests a clear explanation for the unique cognitive profile that people with autism show,” she says. “People who have higher perceptual capacity are able to process more information from a scene, but this may also include some irrelevant information which they may find harder to ignore. Our research suggests autism does not involve a distractibility deficit but rather an information processing advantage.”
The finding may help explain why people with autism spectrum disorders, such as Asperger’s syndrome, may excel in some careers such as IT, which can require intense concentration and the ability to process a great deal of information from a computer screen. Autism diagnoses in California’s Silicon Valley reportedly increased three-fold in the 1990s, a phenomenon termed ‘geek syndrome’ by ‘Wired’ magazine.
“Our study clearly shows that people with autism can do better than typical adults in tasks involving rapid presentations of a lot of information,” says Professor Lavie. “There are clearly careers, such as in IT, that can benefit from employing people with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders.”
With this information, it makes sense that people with Autism spectrum disorder are able to express themselves in a creatively profound manner. Along with now recent studies of people with Autism being able to process information with beyond average capacity, maybe they are also able to perceive life more prolifically. This creative expression is inspirational to those who know, friend, teach or parent those with the disorder, making it less difficult to communicate with those who may find it “difficult” to get their ideas across living while living with this disorder.