Enhanced Rationality in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Date: Friday, October 15, 2021
Speaker: John Gabrieli, Ph.D.
 Grover Hermann Professor, Health Sciences and Technology; Professor, Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Investigator, McGovern Institute; Director, Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center; Director, MIT Integrated Learning Initiative; Core Faculty, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science

Abstract: Challenges in social cognition and communication are core characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but in some domains, individuals with ASD may display typical abilities and even outperform their neurotypical counterparts. These enhanced abilities are notable in the domains of reasoning, judgment and decision-making, in which individuals with ASD often show ‘enhanced rationality’ by exhibiting more rational and bias-free decision-making than do neurotypical individuals. We review evidence for enhanced rationality in ASD, how it relates to theoretical frameworks of information processing in ASD, its implications for basic research about human irrationality, and what it may mean for the ASD community.