Autism and pitch processing splinter skills: A group and subgroup analysis

Heaton, Pam F.; Williams, Kerry; Cummins, Omar and Happe, Francesca. 2008. Autism and pitch processing splinter skills: A group and subgroup analysis. Autism, 12(2), pp. 203-219. ISSN 1362-3613 [Article]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

Autism is characterized by an uneven profile of cognitive abilities and population studies show that approximately 10 percent of diagnosed individuals possess a skill that is significantly better than would be predicted by global IQ. Recent evidence suggests that individuals with autism who possess special skills may represent a distinct genetic group within the autism spectrum. Intellectually high- and low-functioning children and adolescents with autism, together with age- and intelligence-matched comparison participants, completed two experiments that tested pitch discrimination and pitch memory within a visuo-spatial format. The analysis of the data from the studies showed that a subgroup of individuals with autism achieved performance scores that were between four and five standard deviations above the mean for the groups. Unlike comparison participants, their performance appeared to be independent of intelligence, musical training and experience. The findings were interpreted within the context of neuroconstructivist models of typical development and delayed language acquisition characteristic of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Departments, Centres and Research Units:




Item ID:


Date Deposited:

21 Mar 2011 11:18

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 15:41

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


Edit Record Edit Record (login required)