Representational drawing and the transition from intellectual to visual realism in children with autism
The present study compared the representational drawings of children with autism, children with Down syndrome and typically developing children. Participants were asked to draw a series of objects and their depictions were scored for the incidence of intellectual realism. The tasks sought evidence of conceptual as opposed to episodic influences on intellectual realism in terms of (1) omission errors for the visible decorative attributes of isolated objects and (2) commission errors for the hidden categorical attributes of contextually situated objects. All groups evinced sensitivity to meaning as gauged by the former measure but the autistic group were impaired in their performance on the latter measure. Whereas children without autism were less likely to depict the occluded handle of a cup when the model was presented in context rather than independently, this trend was lacking in the autistic sample. We consider these findings in terms of weak central coherence and alternative accounts of impaired conceptualization in autism.
British Journal of Developmental Psychology
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