Recent research on executive function (EF) deficits in autism has led investigators to conclude that EF deficits are secondary to the disorder. The current study has two major goals: (1) Examine whether specific EF deficits are present in the youngest autism group to date (mean = 2.9 years), and (2) examine whether such deficits are secondary to autism, or act as an early non-specific cognitive risk factor for autism by comparing EF abilities of this autism group to a CA-matched typically developing group. Results from Experiment 1 suggest no specific EF deficits in autism relative to MA-matched controls, while results from Experiment 2 are consistent with the hypothesis that EF deficits may emerge as a secondary deficit in autism. Alternative hypotheses are also considered.
- Cognitive flexibility
- Executive function
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology