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J Abnorm Psychol. 2000 May;109(2):227-38.

The external validity of Asperger disorder: lack of evidence from the domain of neuropsychology.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112, USA.


The present study compared individuals with high-functioning autism (HFA) and Asperger disorder (AD) in intellectual, motor, visuospatial, and executive function domains. Participants with AD demonstrated significantly higher Verbal and Full Scale IQ scores, significantly larger Verbal-Performance IQ discrepancies, and significantly better visual-perceptual skills than those with HFA. Once the superior intellectual abilities of the AD group were controlled (both statistically through analysis of covariance and by examining IQ-matched subgroups of HFA and AD participants), no significant group differences in motor, visuospatial, or executive functions were evident, save a marginally significant trend toward poorer fine motor performance in the AD group. This suggests that AD may simply be "high-IQ autism" and that separate names for the disorders may not be warranted. The relation of these findings to theories of autism and AD are discussed.

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