Reasoning on the Autism Spectrum: A Dual Process Theory Account
Mark Brosnan • Marcus Lewton • Chris Ashwin
Abstract Dual process theory proposes two distinct reasoning processes in humans, an intuitive style that is rapid and automatic and a deliberative style that is more effortful. However, no study to date has specifically examined these reasoning styles in relation to the autism spectrum. The present studies investigated deliberative and intuitive reasoning profiles in: (1) a non-clinical sample from the general population with varying degrees of autism traits (n = 95), and (2) males diagnosed with ASD (n = 17) versus comparisons (n = 18). Taken together, the results suggest reasoning on the autism spectrum is compatible with the processes proposed by Dual Process Theory and that higher autism traits and ASD are characterised by a consistent bias towards deliberative reasoning (and poten- tially away from intuition).