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Neuropsychology. 2008 May;22(3):301-12. doi: 10.1037/0894-4105.22.3.301.

The structure of intelligence in children and adults with high functioning autism.

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  • 1VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206, USA.


Confirmatory factor analyses of the commonly used 11 subtests of the Wechsler child and adult intelligence scales were accomplished for 137 children and 117 adults with high functioning autism (HFA) and for comparable age groups from the standardization samples contained in the Wechsler manuals. The objectives were to determine whether the structure of intelligence in HFA groups was similar to that found in the normative samples, and whether a separate "social context" factor would emerge that was unique to HFA. Four-factor models incorporating a Social Context factor provided the best fit in both the autism and normative samples, but the subtest intercorrelations were generally lower in the autism samples. Findings suggest similar organization of cognitive abilities in HFA, but with the possibility of underconnectivity or reduced communication among brain regions in autism.

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