Advertisement

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 12, pp 2977–2983 | Cite as

Brief Report: Cognitive Performance in Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome: What are the Differences?

  • Stefano Taddei
  • Bastianina Contena
Brief Report

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorders include autistic and Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), often studied in terms of executive functions (EF), with controversial results. Using Planning Attention Simultaneous Successive theory (PASS; Das et al. in Assessment of cognitive processes: the PASS theory of intelligence. Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA, 1994), this research compares the cognitive profiles obtained by the Cognitive Assessment System (CAS; Naglieri and Das in Cognitive assessment system. Riverside, Itasca, IL, 1997) of 15 subjects with typical development, 18 with autistic disorder and 20 with AS. Results highlight lower profiles for children with autistic and AS compared with typical development and even lower Planning and Attention processes for the group with autistic disorders than that with Asperger’s. Subjects with Asperger’s diagnosis do not differ from those with typical development as regards Simultaneous and Successive processes. Results are discussed in the light of current studies about EF.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorders Executive functions Cognitive processes PASS theory Cognitive Assessment System 

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). DSM-IV-TR: Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2012). DSM V development: Autistic disorder. Retrieved October 2012 from http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevisions/Pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=94.
  3. Aron, A. R. (2008). Progress in executive-function research. From tasks to functions to regions to networks. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(2), 124–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bauman, M. L., & Kemper, T. L. (2005). Neuroanatomic observations of the brain in autism: A review and future directions. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 23, 183–187. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2004.09.006.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chan, R. C. K., Shum, D., Toulopoulou, T., & Chen, E. Y. K. (2008). Assessment of executive functions: Review of instruments and identification of critical issues. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 23, 201–216. doi: 10.1016/j.acn.2007.08.010.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Christ, S. E., Holt, D. D., White, D. A., & Green, L. (2007). Inhibitory control in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 6, 1155–1165. doi: 10.1007/s10803-006-0259-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Coldren, J. T., & Halloran, C. (2003). Spatial reversal as a measure of executive functioning in children with autism. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 164, 29–41. doi: 10.1080/00221320309597501.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Das, J. P., Naglieri, J. A., & Kirby, J. R. (1994). Assessment of cognitive processes: The PASS theory of intelligence. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  9. Denckla, M. B. (1996). A theory and model of executive function: A neuropsychological perspective. In G. R. Lyon & N. A. Krasnegor (Eds.), Attention, memory, and executive function (pp. 263–278). Baltimore, MD: Paul H Brookes.Google Scholar
  10. Elliott, R. (2003). Executive functions and their disorders. British Medical Bulletin, 65, 49–59. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldg65.049.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fontaine, D., & Nolin, P. (2012). Study of “hot” executive functions in a sample of parents who have been accused of physical abuse or neglect. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 21(1), 1–18. doi: 10.1080/10926771.2012.632391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Frazier, T. W., Youngstrom, E. A., Speer, L., Embacher, R., Law, P., & Constantino, J. (2012). Validation of proposed DSM-5 criteria for autism spectrum disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 51(1), 28–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Funahashi, S. (2001). Neuronal mechanisms of executive control by the prefrontal cortex. Neuroscience Research, 39, 147–165.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Geurts, H. M., Corbett, B., & Solomon, M. (2009). The paradox of cognitive flexibility in autism. Trends in Cognitive Science, 13, 74–82. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2008.11.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goldstein, S., & Naglieri, J. A. (2008). The school neuropsychology of ADHD: Theory, assessment and intervention. Psychology in the Schools, 45(9), 859–874. doi: 10.1002/pits.20331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Happé, F., & Frith, U. (2006). The weak coherence account: Detail-focused cognitive style in autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36(1), 5–25. doi: 10.1007/s10803-005-0039-0.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hayashi, M., Kato, M., Igarashi, K., & Kashima, H. (2008). Superior fluid intelligence in children with AS. Brain and Cognition, 66, 306–310. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2007.09.008.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hayward, D., Das, J. P., & Janzen, T. (2007). Innovative programs for improvement in reading through cognitive enhancement: A remediation study of Canadian First Nations children. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 40, 443–457.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Heaton, P. (2003). Pitch memory, labelling and disembedding in autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44, 543–551. doi: 10.1111/1469-7610.00143.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hill, E. L. (2004). Evaluating the theory of executive dysfunction in autism. Developmental Review, 24, 189–233. doi: 10.1016/j.dr.2004.01.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Joseph, L. M., McCachran, M. E., & Naglieri, J. A. (2003). PASS cognitive processes, phonological processes, and basic reading performance for a semple of referred primary-grade children. Journal of Research in Reading, 26(3), 304–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Joseph, R. M., & Tager-Flusburg, H. (2004). The relationship of theory of mind and executive functions to symptom type and severity in children with autism. Development and Psychopathology, 16, 137–155.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jurado, M. B., & Rosselli, M. (2007). The elusive nature of executive functions: A review of our current understanding. Neuropsychological Review, 17, 213–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kaland, N., Smith, L., & Mortensen, E. L. (2008). Brief report: Cognitive flexibility and focused attention in children and adolescents with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism as measured on the computerized version of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 1161–1165. doi: 10.1007/s10803-007-0474-1.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Katagiri, M., Kasai, T., Kamio, Y., & Murohashi, H. (2012). Individuals with AS exhibit difficulty in switching attention from a local level to a global level. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. doi: 10.1007/s10803-012-1578-9.
  26. Keat, O. B., & Ismail, K. H. (2011). Pass cognitive processing: Comparison between normal children with reading difficulties. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 2, 53–60.Google Scholar
  27. Kleinhans, N., Akshoomoff, N., & Delis, D. C. (2013). Executive functions in autism and AS: Flexibility, fluency, and inhibition. Developmental Neuropsychology, 27(3), 379–401. doi: 10.1207/s15326942dn2703_5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kroeger, T. L., Rojahn, J., & Naglieri, J. A. (2001). Role of planning, attention, and simultaneous and successive cognitive processing in facial recognition in adults with mental retardation. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 106(2), 151–161.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kroesbergen, E. H., Van Luit, J. E. H., & Naglieri, J. A. (2003). Mathematical learning difficulties and PASS cognitive process. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 36(6), 574–582.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kroesbergen, E. H., Van Luit, J. E. H., Naglieri, J. A., Taddei, S., & Franchi, E. (2010). PASS processes and early mathematics skills in Dutch and Italian kindergarteners. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 28(6), 585–593. doi: 10.1177/0734282909356054.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kupfer, D. J., Kuhl, E. A., & Regier, D. A. (2013). DSM-5–The future arrived. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. doi: 10.1001/jama.2013.2298.
  32. Kupfer, D. J., & Regier, D. A. (2011). Neuroscience, clinical evidence, and the future of psychiatric classification in DSM-5. American Journal of Psychiatry, 168(7), 672–674.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Luria, A. R. (1966). Higher cortical functions in man. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  34. Luria, A. R. (1973). The working brain. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  35. Mandy, W. P., Charman, T., & Skuse, D. H. (2012). Testing the construct validity of proposed criteria for DSM-5 Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 51(1), 41–50. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2011.10.013.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McCrimmon, A. W., Schwean, V. L., Saklofske, D. H., Montgomery, J. M., & Brady, J. M. (2012). Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 6, 224–233. doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2011.05.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McPartland, J. C., Reichow, B., & Volkmar, F. R. (2012). Sensitivity and specificity of proposed DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 51(4), 368–383. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2012.01.007.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McPartland, J. C., & Volkmar, F. R. (2013). Asperger syndrome and its relationships to autism. In J. D. Bixbaum, & P. R. Holf (Eds.), The neuroscience of autism spectrum disorders (pp. 55–67). Oxford: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  39. Naglieri, J. A., & Das, J. P. (1997). Cognitive Assessment System. Itasca, IL: Riverside.Google Scholar
  40. Naglieri, J. A., Pickering, E. B., Otero, T., & Moreno, M. (2010). Helping children learn. Intervention handouts for use in school and at home (2nd ed.). Baltimore, MD: Brookes.Google Scholar
  41. Naglieri, J. A., Salter, C. J., & Edwards, G. (2004). Assessment of children with ADHD and reading disabilities using PASS theory and Cognitive Assessment System. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 22, 93–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Naglieri, J. A., Taddei, S., & Williams, K. M. (2013). Multigroup confirmatory factor analysis of U.S. and Italian children’s performance on the PASS theory of intelligence as measured by the Cognitive Assessment System. Psychological Assessment, 25(1), 157–166. doi: 10.1037/a0029828.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. O’Riordan, M. A., Plaisted, K., Driver, J., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2001). Superior visual search in autism. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 27(3), 719–730.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ozonoff, S., Pennington, B. F., & Rogers, S. J. (1991). Executive function deficits in high-functioning autistic individuals: Relationship to theory of mind. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 32(7), 1081–1105. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.1991.tb00351.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Purdy, M. H. (2011). Executive functions: Theory, assessment, and treatment. In M. L. Kimbarow (Ed.), Cognitive communication disorders (pp. 77–93). San Diego, CA: Plural.Google Scholar
  46. Rinehart, N. J., Bradshaw, J. L., Brereton, A. V., & Tonge, B. J. (2002). A clinical and neurobehavioural review of high-functioning autism and AS. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 36, 762–770. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1614.2002.01097.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Robinson, S., Goddard, L., Dritschel, B., Wisley, M., & Howlin, P. (2009). Executive functions in children with autism spectrum disorders. Brain and Cognition, 71, 362–368. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2009.06.007.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sanders, J., Johnson, K. A., Garavan, H., Gill, M., & Gallagher, L. (2008). A review of neuropsychological and neuroimaging research in autistic spectrum disorders: Attention, inhibition and cognitive flexibility. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2, 1–16. doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2007.03.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sparrow, S. S., & Davis, S. M. (2000). Recent advances in the assessment of intelligence and cognition. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41(1), 117–131. doi: 10.1111/1469-7610.00552.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Suchy, Y. (2009). Executive functioning: Overview, assessment, and research issues for non-neuropsychologists. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 37, 106–116. doi: 10.1007/s12160-009-9097-4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Taddei, S., Caria, M., & Contena, B. (2012). Funzioni esecutive nell’autismo ad alto funzionamento e nel disturbo da deficit di attenzione-iperattività: profili cognitivi a confronto [Executive functions in high functioning autism and AD/HD disorder: Comparison between cognitive profiles]. In Proceedings of the XX Congresso Nazionale delle sezioni AIPChieti 2012, 348.Google Scholar
  52. Taddei, S., Contena, B., Caria, M., Venturini, E., & Venditti, F. (2011). Evaluation of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and specific learning disability on the WISC and Cognitive Assessment System (CAS). Procedia Social and Behavioral Science, 29, 574–582. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.11.278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Taddei, S., & Naglieri, J. A. (2005). L’adattamento italiano del Cognitive Assessment System [Italian adaptation of the Cognitive Assessment System]. In J. A. Naglieri & J. P. Das (Eds.), CAS Manuale [Handbook of CAS] (pp. 85–108). Florence: Giunti O.S. Organizzazioni Speciali.Google Scholar
  54. Taddei, S., Venditti, F., & Cartocci, S. (2009). Processi cognitivi e disturbi dell’apprendimento: il contributo diagnostico del Cognitive Assessment System [Cognitive processes and learning disabilities: the diagnostic contribution of the Cognitive Assessment System]. Psichiatria dell’Infanzia e dell’Adolescenza, 76(3), 46–58.Google Scholar
  55. Thakkar, K. N., Polli, F. E., Joseph, R. M., Tuch, D. S., Hadjikhani, N., Barton, J. J., et al. (2008). Response monitoring, repetitive behaviour and anterior cingulate abnormalities in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Brain, 13, 2464–2478. doi: 10.1093/brain/awn099.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Van Eylen, L., Boets, B., Steyaert, J., Evers, K., Wagemans, J., & Noens, I. (2011). Cognitive flexibility in autism spectrum disorder: Explaining the inconsistencies? Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5, 1390–1401. doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2011.01.025.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Volkmar, F. R., & Pauls, D. (2003). Autism. Lancet, 362, 1133–1141. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(03)14471-6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Worley, J. A., & Matson, J. L. (2012). Comparing symptoms of autism spectrum disorders using the current DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria and the proposed DSM-V diagnostic criteria. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 6, 965–970. doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2011.12.012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Zelazo, P. D., & Frye, D. (1998). Complexity and control: II. The development of executive function in childhood. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 7(4), 121–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Sciences, Psychology and Psychiatry UnitUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

Personalised recommendations