City Research Online

When prototypes are not best: Judgments made by children with autism

Molesworth, C. J., Bowler, D. M. & Hampton, J. A. (2008). When prototypes are not best: Judgments made by children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(9), pp. 1721-1730. doi: 10.1007/s10803-008-0557-7


The current study used a factorial comparison experimental design to investigate conflicting findings on prototype effects shown by children with autism (Klinger & Dawson, 2001; Molesworth, Bowler, & Hampton, 2005). The aim was to see whether children with high –functioning autism could demonstrate prototype effects via categorization responses and whether failure to do so was related to difficulty understanding ambiguous task demands. Two thirds of the autism group did show an effect. The remainder, a sub-group defined by performance on a control task, did not. The discussion focuses on the influence of heterogeneity within the autism group and the ability to resolve ambiguity on task performance. Finally, an alternative experimental design is recommended for further research into these issues.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via
Publisher Keywords: Autism, Asperger syndrome, categorization, concepts, heterogeneity, prototype
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Related URLs:
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of When prototypes are not best.pdf]
PDF - Accepted Version
Download (301kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login