This study examined inhibitory function in nonretarded children with autism (n = 13) and normally developing controls (n = 13) matched on age and IQ. Tasks measuring motor and cognitive components of inhibition were administered to both groups. On the Stop-Signal paradigm, children with autism were able to inhibit motor responses to neutral and prepotent stimuli as well as control subjects. On the Negative Priming task, the groups were equally capable of inhibiting processing of irrelevant distractor stimuli in a visual display. Results suggest that at least two components of inhibition are spared in individuals with autism, standing in contrast to flexibility and other executive deficits that have been found in previous studies. These findings may help distinguish children with autism from those with other neurodevelopmental conditions that involve executive dysfunction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology