A new study has revealed that people with autism are better problem solvers than non-autistic individuals.
The research team from Universite de Montreal and Harvard University has found that autistics are up to 40 percent faster at solving complex problems.
"While both groups performed RSPM test with equal accuracy, the autistic group responded more quickly and appeared to use perceptual regions of the brain to accelerate problem-solving," said lead author Isabelle Soulieres, a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University who completed the experiment at the Université de Montréal.
"The Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices (RSPM) are among the most complex tests to provide insight on how a person understands and formulates rules, manages goal hierarchies and performs high-level abstractions.
"Our wager was that autistics could complete such a test and they surpassed our expectations," she added.
The study, involving 15 autistics and 18 non-autistics aged 14 to 36 years, showed that autistics complete the test as efficiently and have a more highly developed perception than non-autistics.
"This study builds on our previous findings and should help educators capitalize on the intellectual abilities of autistics," said senior researcher Laurent Mottron, the new Marcel and Rolande Gosselin Research Chair in Autism Cognitive Neuroscience of the Universite de Montreal and psychiatry professor.
"The limits of autistics should constantly be pushed and their educational materials should never be simplified," Mottron added.
The study is published in the journal Human Brain Mapping.