Autism Spurs Creative Thinking

Inventive Minds at Work




The UK’s University of East Anglia and the University of Stirling conducted a study of individuals with autistic traits among 312 people recruited through social media, including 75 diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder. Each of the subjects completed a series of creativity tests in which they determined uses of mundane objects.

Published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, the study found that while the autistic people chose fewer uses for each object, their choices were significantly more original and creative. The subjects developed a greater range of “divergent thinking”.

Martin Doherty, Ph.D., co-author of the study, confirms, “People with high autistic traits can have less quantity, but greater quality of creative ideas. They are typically considered to be more rigid in their thinking, so the fact that the ideas they have are more unusual or rare is surprising. This difference may have positive implications for creative problem solving.”

The researchers found that while the average person will utilize simple mental strategies to produce more obvious answers first, autistic people tend to first utilize more demanding strategies during their processing, thus producing the more creative result.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Eat Right to Sleep Well

Rather than popping a pill, eating certain foods can kick-start hormones that help us get a long, deep night’s sleep.

We Need Clean Waters

Efforts are underway around the country to make polluted waterways clean again and to instill local appreciation for their many helpful roles.

Peter Gros on Preserving Wild Nature

The wildlife expert explains why we should appreciate wolves, snakes and bats and what he finds encouraging about an enlightened focus on wildlife protection.

Running with the Kids

Families with children as young as 5 easily bond when they mindfully run together at a fun pace.

Livable Communities We Love

Across the country, cities from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh to Portland are finding fresh new ways to create engaging street life for residents while eco-upgrading their green spaces, services and infrastructure.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags