The verbal problem-solving and abstract reasoning ability of 25 high-functioning autistic individuals ages 11 to 41 was compared with normal controls individually matched on age, gender, race, IQ, and educational level. The Twenty Questions Procedure was administered using a grid of 42 common objects. Time to complete the task, number of correct solutions, and number and type of questions asked were analyzed. Results indicated that controls were more often successful in achieving solutions, and in formulating constraint seeking questions that conceptually grouped, ordered, and sorted the objects. In contrast, the autistics relied primarily on guessing. Findings are consistent with prior studies reporting a core deficit in autism involving abstract reasoning ability.

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