Research Article: Creativity in savant artists with autism
Pring, L., Ryder, N., Crane, L., & Hermelin, B. (2012). Creativity in savant artists with autism. Autism, 16(1), 45-57. doi: 10.1177/1362361311403783
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often display impairments in creativity, yet savant artists with ASD are reported to produce highly novel and original artistic outputs. To explore this paradox, we assessed nine savant artists with ASD, nine talented art students, nine non-artistically talented individuals with ASD, and nine individuals with mild/moderate learning difficulties (MLD) on tasks in and out of their domain of expertise. This was to ascertain whether the performance of the savant artists was related to their artistic ability, their diagnosis of ASD or their level of intellectual functioning. Results demonstrated that the responses of the art students were more creative (as assessed on measures of fluency, originality, elaboration, and flexibility) than the savant, ASD, and MLD groups on a drawing task. Although the savants did produce more elaborative responses than the ASD and MLD groups, no differences were observed on the other indices of creativity. On a non-drawing task, the savants produced more original outputs than the ASD and MLD groups (scoring similarly to the art students), but group differences were not observed on the other measures.
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