Study says individuals with autism are more creative

Norwich, England — A team of researchers from the University of East Anglia and Scotland’s University of Stirling found that individuals who possess characteristics of autism are more creative than those who do not.

In research published in The Journal of Autism and Development Disorders, the team of psychologists made a simple experiment involving 312 participants who were found to have “subthreshold autistic traits”, or those who were categorized under borderline autism but were not actually diagnosed with autism.

Out of 312, however, 75 have said that they were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

The participants were asked to answer a series of questionnaires that measured both their autism traits and their creativity.

The researchers then measured the participants’ divergent thinking or problem solving skills by asking them to list down as many alternative uses of paper clips or bricks as they could.

The researchers considered the participants’ answers according to quantity, unusualness, and elaborateness.

They later on found that participants who answered with four more unusual responses had more traits of autism than those who gave common answers.

In the same manner, when the participants were asked to interpret abstract drawings in as many ways as they could, the researchers found that those found with autism traits came up with more creative but lesser number of answers.

According to the study’s co-author and University of East Anglia School of Psychology professor, Dr. Martin Doherty:

“People with high autistic traits could be said to have less quantity but greater quality of creative ideas.”

Source: Jill Arce: Tech Times: People With Autism May Be More Creative: Study