DAWSON, M., SOULIÈRES, I., GERNSBACHER, M. A., & MOTTRON, L. (2007). The level and nature of autistic intelligence. Psychological Science, 18, 657-662.
Autistics are presumed to be characterized by cognitive impairment, and their cognitive strengths (e.g., in Block Design performance) are frequently interpreted as low-level by-products of high-level deﬁcits, not as direct manifestations of intelligence. Recent attempts to identify the neuroanatomical and neurofunctional signature of autism have been positioned on this universal, but untested, assumption. We therefore assessed a broad sample of 38 autistic children on the preeminent test of ﬂuid intelligence, Raven’s Progressive Matrices. Their scores were, on average, 30 percentile points, and in some cases more than 70 percentile points, higher than their scores on the Wechsler scales of intelligence. Typically developing control children showed no such discrepancy, and a similar contrast was observed when a sample of autistic adults was compared with a sample of nonautistic adults. We conclude that intelligence has been underestimated in autistics.