Autism and performance on the suppression task: Reasoning, context and complexity

Rebecca McKenzie*, Jonathan B T Evans St., Simon J. Handley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In this study both adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typically developing controls were presented with conditional reasoning problems using familiar content. In this task both valid and fallacious conditional inferences that would otherwise be drawn can be suppressed if counterexample cases are brought to mind. Such suppression occurs when additional premises are presented, whose effect is to suggest such counterexample cases. In this study we predicted and observed that this suppression effect was substantially and significantly weaker for autistic participants. We take this as evidence that autistics are less contextualised in their reasoning, a finding that can be linked to research on autism on a variety of other cognitive tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-196
Number of pages15
JournalThinking and Reasoning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


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