DEC Colloquium

The veridical mapping model of savant abilities in autism

Speaker(s)
Laurent Mottron (U. de Montréal)
Practical information
17 December 2013
11:30am-1pm
Place

Salle Langevin

Superior perception, peaks of ability, and savant skills are often observed in the autistic phenotype. The enhanced perceptual functioning model emphasizes the increased role and autonomy of perceptual information processing in autistic cognition. Autistic abilities also involve enhanced pattern detection (Mottron et al., 2006, 2009). In this presentation, we elaborate Veridical mapping 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 coupling of perceptual information with homological data drawn from within or across, perceptual and nonperceptual, 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.