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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 May 27;364(1522):1437-42. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0297.

How does visual thinking work in the mind of a person with autism? A personal account.

Author information

  • 1Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA. cheryl.miller@colostate.edu

Abstract

My mind is similar to an Internet search engine that searches for photographs. I use language to narrate the photo-realistic pictures that pop up in my imagination. When I design equipment for the cattle industry, I can test run it in my imagination similar to a virtual reality computer program. All my thinking is associative and not linear. To form concepts, I sort pictures into categories similar to computer files. To form the concept of orange, I see many different orange objects, such as oranges, pumpkins, orange juice and marmalade. I have observed that there are three different specialized autistic/Asperger cognitive types. They are: (i) visual thinkers such as I who are often poor at algebra, (ii) pattern thinkers such as Daniel Tammet who excel in math and music but may have problems with reading or writing composition, and (iii) verbal specialists who are good at talking and writing but they lack visual skills.

PMID:
19528028
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2677580
Free PMC Article
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