A study comparing the performance of a cognitive task between children with ASDs and neuro-typical children reveals that those with ASD are quicker:
The task required that children with ASD and neurotypical children (aged 11 to 16; most were male), and non-ASD adults, look at pictures of non-social scenes (e.g. a furnished room) on a computer. Each scene appeared for just under half a second, the screen would go blank, then the scene would reappear with one subtle change. The changes could be located centrally in the scene or in the periphery, and they could be a change in colour of an object, a change in an object’s presence or absence, or location. The participants’ task was to spot the change as quickly as possible and say what it was.
The headline result is that the 11 children with ASD were often significantly faster at detecting scene changes than the 29 neurotypical kids and the 20 adults.
This data suggest some interesting psychodynamic formulations regarding the possible developmental origins of ASD.