(STANFORD, Calif.) — The different “wiring” of autistic kids’ brains seems to confer enhanced math abilities. A new study, published in Biological Psychiatry, showed that children with autism consistently performed better on math tests compared to non-autistic children in the same IQ range.
Researchers at Stanford University gave 36 children — with and without autism — all who had IQs in a “normal” range, a math test. The autistic kids, lacking in social skills, were shown to have superior math and analytic abilities.
To follow up, they took MRIs of the kids’ brains while doing math. They found that autistic kids had increased activity in an area of the brain most known for processing visual objects and perception — an area called the ventral temporal occipital cortex — suggesting that they may have novel ways of processing information.
Autism affects about one in 88 kids in the U.S. and is characterized by impairments in social interactions and communication skills.
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