Le raisonnement chez les personnes autistes : mécanismes cognitifs et cérébraux

Chercheurs boursiers - Junior 1 | Concours 2012-2013

Isabelle Soulières

Centre recherche Fernand-Seguin de l'Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine


Domaine : Neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Autistic individuals perform much better on abstract reasoning than their apparent intelligence and adaptation level. Common and scientific belief was that autistics were impaired in all complex' tasks. Growing empirical evidence however suggests that both specific perceptual superiorities and different learning mechanisms would characterize autism. This would lead to a preference for visual thinking: autistics may think more in pictures than with words and hypotheses as non-autistics do. In the proposed research plan, I will compare autistic and non-autistic participants in order to understand the brain mechanisms of autistic reasoning and problem solving. I will employ functional brain imaging techniques and computerized tasks to investigate differences between autistic and non-autistic individuals in (1) reasoning skills in visual versus verbal problems, (2) modulation of reasoning mechanisms in relation to problem complexity, as well as (3) interactions between brain regions during reasoning. The overall long-term goal of my research program is to develop a better understanding of autistics' privileged modes of reasoning as well as cognitive and neural underpinnings of autistic reasoning, in order to develop targeted and efficient teaching, learning and working methods suitable to autistics.