Are Autistic People Better At Logical Thinking?

People wonder if autistic people are better at logical thinking. Read on to find out.

steven zauderer
Steven Zauderer
September 20, 2023
min read

Does Autism Affect Logical Thinking?

Based on research, autism has been shown to affect logical thinking, though this isn't true for every person diagnosed with ASD. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder where problems with communication, socializing, and repetition are common. As a spectrum condition, it can impact people in numerous ways with changing variety.

Much debate has been given concerning whether autism impacts the ability to think logically.In one area of research, some believe that ASD people have boosted abilities in specific areas requiring one to think logically, most commonly when solving problems and recognizing certain patterns. They may be talented in looking for different patterns or recognizing them individually.

Processing info in a way that's systematic and very logical might be observed. Enhanced abilities in math, engineering, and computer programming are often shown in these instances.

However, there are also indicators of autistic people having problems with thinking logically, where conceptualization, reasoning in an abstract way, and inference are the norm.

Problems might be seen with gaining knowledge of social circumstances deemed complex or even their emotions. Interpreting nonverbal cues could be challenging, facial expressions as well. Body language is another, such as when someone motions in a way to get the attention of another.

These are important components of both logical and social reasoning. Other studies indicate that people with ASD can exhibit executive function problems like making plans, and decisions, and thinking flexibly. Such problems can have a considerable impact on one's ability to find their way through social circumstances that mandate some familiarity with executive functions.

They're what give people knowledge on general problem-solving.

One important note relates to autism's logical thinking impact. It can change with every diagnosis.

For instance, some people might have a great talent for thinking logically yet others may struggle a great deal with it. Furthermore, some autistic people might have advantages in areas where logical thinking is needed, like solving problems.

At the same time, they may not have the capacity to comprehend abstract reasoning. In the end, autistic people are people. They have talents and imperfections like all human beings.

Some can think logically about complex subjects while finding difficulty in most things others might consider easy to do, namely reasoning and figuring out problems in social settings.

There can be both negative and positive effects on one's logical thinking, with the autistic being the same. As a spectrum disorder, autism is unlike many other disorders people are diagnosed with. There are weaknesses and strengths in its characteristics, with logical reasoning potentially being either based on every individual.

How Does The Autistic Mind Think?

People with autism are capable of having the same thoughts as anyone else but may show a higher focus on details and thinking in literal terms, among other things. All people with ASD aren't the same. Each person with it can experience and interpret the world around them differently. Still, there are some characteristics more common among ASD people. Here are the following:

  • Paying attention to the details - ASD individuals may show an enhanced ability to work out the details in complex things, leading to routines and interests that require a high level of detail to understand. As a result, memorizing intricacies related to their interests could become easy to do.
  • Thinking in literal terms - Autistic people sometimes handle language interpretation and consuming information in a literal way. This can lead to much confusion when around people that use lots of metaphors and idioms in their speech. Sarcastic people may come off as rude or even offensive. Any type of figurative language can lead to issues from a lack of understanding of what the person meant to say.
  • Problems with concepts deemed abstract - Autistic persons can have great difficulty with abstract concepts and undertaking tasks that mandate lots of thinking in hypotheticals or using one's imagination.
  • The ability to recognize patterns well - Many that are on the spectrum have a heightened ability to see patterns and connections between objects, events, and people that are sometimes overlooked by others.
  • Social interaction problems - ASD people may not be able to understand different emotions shown in others, along with social cues. It can lead to problems in situations where social interactions are required.
  • Repetitive behaviors - One common symptom of autism is repetitive behaviors. Things such as rocking back and forth in a chair, saying the same thing over and over again, and flapping arms and hands are the most observed.

Autism isn't defined by one particular characteristic or a set of characteristics. The experiences of one autistic person can be strikingly contrary to someone else. Indeed, there are people on the spectrum with incredible abilities in music, art, and even physics.

Autism isn't defined by one particular characteristic or a set of characteristics.

What Is Different About An Autistic Person's Brain?

Considerable research reveals that autistic people have distinct qualities in the structure of their brain and the way it functions. Yet there remains lots of variability for all people on the spectrum. Therefore, not everyone with autism carries similar brain qualities. Regardless, findings in the field show the following:

  • Brain volume increase - Studies reveal that ASD people often display brain volume that increases, especially in the temporal and frontal lobes. These areas are commonly associated with language interpretation and social processing.
  • Increase in connections to the brain - Scientists and psychologists believe that autistic people could have a larger amount of connections in different areas of the brain, which may cause an overabundance of links in some portions. When this is the case less connectivity may be displayed in other areas.
  • Brain activity differences - Other research shows discrepancies in brain activity between people on the spectrum and their peers without the disorder. For instance, areas that are linked with having attention to detail could show less activity in areas where emotional processing is commonly found.
  • Brain asymmetry discrepancies - There are indicators of differences in brain lateralization levels, the gauge to where specific brain functions are more prevalent in one hemisphere.
  • Variation in the plasticity of the brain - This involves the ability of one's brain to shift and adjust to different experiences. ASD individuals can display differences in plasticity, possibly contributing to their variations in communication and social interaction abilities.

One important note is that such studies are predicated on averages. There is too much variability in every case of autism for average to always conclude that these findings are entirely true. Furthermore, it's based on studies that are quite early, with more research currently ongoing or plans for refinement shortly.

How Does Autism Affect Intelligence?

Autism can affect intelligence by boosting or lowering the intelligence or cognitive abilities displayed in people with the disorder. This is usually from brain-related attributes, unlike people without the disorder.

Autism can affect intelligence by boosting or lowering the intelligence or cognitive abilities displayed in people with the disorder.

However, people on the spectrum can have different levels of intellect, no different from other people. Some contain intelligence that is slightly above average, with good abilities in areas like math, art, and science.

Other people might display intellectual disabilities and have great problems performing and finishing tasks that require good cognitive abilities.

On its own, intelligence is a very complicated subject and can include lots of abilities, like nonverbal and verbal intelligence. General knowledge is another. ASD persons can have many positive signs of intelligence and some weaknesses. There's no definitive answer to one's intelligence that can't factor in nuance.

There are also indicators implying that autistic people might face a harder time with executive function and cognitive processes related to making plans, solving problems, and making general choices. These can all have an impact on their time spent navigating different social instances and may end in lower intellect.

They might also have a hard time with social communication and language development. If so, it may cause an unwanted performance impact on them completing tasks where such would be helpful. But there are also autistic people with outstanding language skills, even when undertaking tasks where such abilities are needed.

Do People With Autism Have Rigid Thinking?

People with autism can have rigidity in their thoughts. They might tend to follow a set of routines to the letter, often causing upset when forced to deviate from a schedule or situation they know and are comfortable with.

People with autism can have rigidity in their thoughts.

Such rigid thoughts can impact the way they engage socially, where adjusting to interactions that are unpredictable become difficult to impossible. When it comes to language, it can make understanding certain ways of speaking hard, especially when sarcasm is used.

Yet it's imperative that to understand that rigidity doesn't exist in everyone on the spectrum. Some can adapt and be open to flexible change, particularly with the right levels of support among their family, friends, and peers.

Does Autism Affect Decision Making?

Autism can affect one's ability to make decisions. When this occurs, it's usually from an inability to consider the consequences of certain actions. But this isn't always a problem in every autistic person, since the disorder has no attribute that's found in every person diagnosed.


steven zauderer

CEO of CrossRiverTherapy - a national ABA therapy company based in the USA.

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