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Autism spectrum disorders: a study of symptom domains and weak central coherence

(2003) Lang, Natasja Desirée Julia van

The aim of the studies in this thesis was to gain more insight into the phenotype of autism.
Three studies focused on the behavioral phenotype of autism, and examined symptom
domains that underlie the spectrum of autistic disorders. Since evidence increasingly suggests
that the symptom structure in autism may differ from the symptom structure as described in
the DSM-IV edition, chapters 2 to 4 in this thesis report studies of the symptom structure of
autism in a group of children and adolescents between 4 and 20 years of age, with minor to
severe autistic symptoms. Two other studies focused on the theory of a weak central
coherence in autism, and examined whether autistic individuals use of a particular cognitive
processing style as predicted by the theory. Autistic people are hypothesized to process
information in a local style, being more detail-focused, and making less allowance for the
context in which the information is put in. Because evidence for this theory is still conflicting,
and recent studies restrict their focus on higher functioning individuals with autism spectrum
disorders, the chapters 5 and 6 in this thesis studied the tendency for a weak central coherence
in low functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorders, and in individuals with autism
spectrum disorders functioning in the mild-to-normal IQ range.

file:chapter 1
file:chapter 2
file:chapter 3
file:chapter 4
file:chapter 5
file:chapter 6
file:general discussion

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