Paola Pennisi

A Cognitive Deficit That Subjects with Autism Do Not Have

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In this article I will try to show that (a) there is a population of individuals with autism, who do not have the irrepressible need to linguistically mediate all their thoughts but who can use cognitive strategies different from those most commonly used by the non clinical population; and that (b) even though this usually is a disadvantage, sometimes it can be advantageous, as for example in cognitive performances linked to some islands of genius found in autistic subjects. To reach my goal, I will present and discuss a case of special talent in mathematics in a child with autism. Further, I will discuss the literature on the use if inner speech in subjects with autism. And, finally, I will show how and when different cognitive strategies can be advantageous or disadvantageous for a cognitive performance.


  • Autism
  • Inner Speech
  • Islands of Genius
  • Special Skills
  • Images
  • Language
  • Cognitive Strategies


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