A new study has proven that autism patients have high levels of creativity. Field experts have welcomed the research as it challenges the flawed perception that the general public has of people with learning disabilities.
A team of British researchers looked at 312 people and asked them online whether or not they had autism. They also conducted experiments to see if any of the subjects exhibited traits of the disease even without a diagnosis.
As for the creativity tests, they mainly consisted of showing subjects images of designs meant to be interpreted in more than one way. For instance one of the used images was the famous design that can be seen as either resembling a rabbit, or as resembling a duck.
Another test consisted in giving the subjects one (1) minute to come up with as many uses as they possible could for common object such as paper clips and bricks.
When the research team compared their results, they noticed that subjects diagnosed with autism and subjects who exhibited traits of the disease without being diagnosed came up with fewer answers for the exercises, but the ideas that they did offer were a lot more unusual and outside the box than those of subjects without autism or autistic traits.
Dr. Catherine Best, lead author and field expert from the University of Stirling (the United Kingdom), gave a statement to Reuters Health saying that “We think that perhaps the people with autistic traits use more effortful methods to produce answers to divergent thinking tasks (not based on obvious word associations or common uses for similar items) and therefore come up with fewer but better responses”.
Celebrity actors such as Daryl Hannah and Cian Binchy have spoken publicly in the past about their autism and explained that the condition actually helps them be better at their job. But the new has offered the world scientific proof that autism patients are in fact creative thinkers.
Jolanta Lasota, the chief executive of Ambitious about Autism, gave a statement expressing how happy she is that researchers have finally disproven the flawed belief that autistic people lack creativity. She also informed that contrary to what most people think, autistic people have empathy and are not antisocial.
Binchy, the only actor with a learning disability that’s going to perform at this year’s Edinburgh festival, gave a statement of his own after reading about the study. He said the study only proves that it’s about time for the people who don’t have a learning disability to understand that people who have one are not really that different from them.
The performer also hopes that he can serve as a positive example for other people who have learning disabilities, and that by sharing his own problems with them, he can help them feel better about themselves.
The study was published earlier this month, in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
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