Thinking outside the box is certainly a trait required for those delving within the arts, and a new research has uncovered that autism hides a creative mind underneath the cover of the disability.
There are various ways of interpreting an event, an image, a person or a message, and those who are diagnosed with autism or share traits with the disorder, have an unusual and more unique way of viewing things.
An estimated number of 1 in 68 children each year are diagnosed with being within the autism disorder spectrum, which can vary from severe cases where they will require supervision and care for their entire life, to the more mild afflictions where the individual will be high functioning and independent. Both circumstances were considered for the research.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Catherine Best of the University of Stirling in the United Kingdom, and a team of researchers, have conducted a survey to ascertain the extensive lengths to which people with autism can stretch. They questioned a number of 312 patients, 75 of which were clinically diagnosed with autism. The remaining 237 were either in perfect health, or displayed some trademark traits commonly linked to the disorder.
The participants were inquired about various problem solving solutions, such as uses of the dull and mundane objects like paper clips or bricks. It was observed that both people diagnosed with autism or showing signs associated with the disorder, provided fewer answers in one minute, but were much more prone to offering unusual and creative responses.
The same went with the test of image interpreting. All the participants were shown an ambiguous image and were asked how many interpretations they can make. Once again, patients afflicted with traits of autism or fully diagnosed excelled greatly above the others in terms of creativity.
It seems that while one aspect of their life is severely crippled, others are allowed to bloom. That is apparently the case for those who do not fully develop social skills due to autism, as they manage to “switch off” their attention from reaching others, and ignore the common uses of objects or even the conventional opinions of those around them.
It paves the way for out-of-the-box thinking and individual, unbiased interpretations that are generally linked to creativity. The authors do make the mention that the lack of proper lines to limit “autism” may have skewed the results of their research, although the conclusion seems to stand.
It is possible that mild autism can provide certain intellectual advantages and qualities associated to creativity, by tuning out the crowd around them and focusing solely on their own thoughts, which breeds original ideas and unique interpretations.
Image source: flickr.com