Conceptual problem-solving in highly verbal, nonretarded autistic men

J Autism Dev Disord. 1985 Mar;15(1):23-36. doi: 10.1007/BF01837896.


Nine highly verbal, nonretarded men, ages 18 to 39, with clearly documented childhood diagnoses of infantile autism were studied with the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, a measure of conceptual problem solving sensitive to frontal system dysfunction, and with a measure of social-adaptive functioning. Their performances were compared with 10 controls matched for age, sex, education, and IQ, as well as with published norms for various groups of brain-damaged patients. Significant deficits in the formulation of rules and significant perseverative tendencies were documented in the autistic sample. No significant correlation between these deficits and social-adaptive deficits was seen. These findings were discussed with respect to the heterogeneity of the autistic disorder and Damasio's hypothesis concerning frontal-subcortical dysfunction in autism.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / physiopathology
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / psychology
  • Concept Formation*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Problem Solving*
  • Social Adjustment