Veridical mapping in the development of exceptional autistic abilities

Mottron, Laurent; Bouvet, Lucie; Bonnel, Anna; Samson, Fabienne; Burack, Jacob; Dawson, Michelle and Heaton, Pam F.. 2013. Veridical mapping in the development of exceptional autistic abilities. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 37(2), pp. 209-228. ISSN 0149-7634 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Superior perception, peaks of ability, and savant skills are often observed in the autistic phenotype. The enhanced perceptual functioning model (Mottron et al., 2006a) emphasizes the increased role and autonomy of perceptual information processing in autistic cognition. Autistic abilities also involve enhanced pattern detection, which may develop through veridical mapping across isomorphic perceptual and nonperceptual structures (Mottron et al., 2009). In this paper, we elaborate veridical mapping as a specific mechanism which can explain the higher incidence of savant abilities, as well as other related phenomena,
in autism. We contend that savant abilities such as hyperlexia, but also absolute pitch and synaesthesia,
involve similar neurocognitive components, share the same structure and developmental course,
and represent related ways by which the perceptual brain deals with objective structures under different
conditions. Plausibly, these apparently different phenomena develop through a veridical mapping
mechanism whereby perceptual information is coupled with homological data drawn from within or
across isomorphic structures. The atypical neural connectivity characteristic of autism is consistent with
a developmental predisposition to veridical mapping and the resulting high prevalence of savant abilities,
absolute pitch, and synaesthesia in autism.

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1 February 2013Published
23 November 2012Accepted

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Date Deposited:

02 Feb 2017 17:15

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 15:41

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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