Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social impairments and communication difficulties. People suffering from autism are likelier to produce unusually creative ideas, revealed a new study by psychologists from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and University of Stirling.
Martin Doherty of UEA's School of Psychology said, "People with autistic traits may approach creativity problems in a different way. They were typically considered to be more rigid in their thinking, so the fact that the ideas they have are more unusual or rare was surprising. This difference may have positive implications for creative problem solving."
The researchers examined the relationship between autistic-like traits and creativity. For the study, the researchers analyzed data from 312 people who completed an anonymous online questionnaire to measure their autistic traits and took part in a series of creativity tests. The higher the number of ideas produced, the lower the study participant's level of autistic traits tended to be. The research team found that people with high autistic traits produced fewer responses when generating alternative solutions to a problem known as 'divergent thinking', the responses they did produce were more original and creative.
The study appeared in Autism and Developmental Disorders.