Sarah Shive

In 1938 Louis L. Thurstone proposed the Primary Mental Abilities theory. That was that there are seven independent primary mental abilities which constitute the human intelligence. These are the following:
o Verbal Comprehension
o Verbal Fluency
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o Number or Arithmetic Ability
o Memory
o Perceptual Speed
o Inductive Reasoning
o Spatial Visualization

Thurstone identified the above abilities after creating a set of 56 tests. His wife Thelma helped him to create this test set. Then they administered this test set to 240 college students and from the results analysis, Thurstone, developed the Primary Mental Abilities theory (Dinklage 2001).

Most individuals with Asperger Syndrome would perform significantly on most of the abilities linked to Thurstone's theory. Students with Asperger's would outperform their peers in memory, perceptual speed, number or arithmetic ability, verbal comprehension, and verbal fluency. However, this population would have deficits in spatial visualization and inductive reasoning. Individuals with Asperger's
have poor appreciation of gestalt, poor appreciation of body in space, sometimes left side inattention/neglect, may have highly developed but ritualized drawing skills that are extremely detail oriented.

One of the major characteristics that can lead to an Asperger Syndrome diagnosis is a person’s lack of inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning is where a person makes meaning out of what they see, hear, touch, taste, smell, read, etc. Those with Asperger’s don’t read body cues or facial cues well – their own or others. They can’t pick up things empathically. They do not sense when they walk into a room that people are mad or sad or glad or scared. Their brains do not have that ability.

Most of us see a group of body cues (facial expression, body movements or how one holds their body and tones in the voice) and we make the inductive leap of defining that group of body cues as a single meaning. We attach a level of importance to the meaning about it that allows us to store and recover it easily and we do it without consciously thinking through it all. It happens for us in a moment or two.

Those with Asperger’s can’t easily make meaning of what they see, hear, touch, taste and smell. So, they have to look around and log each person’s response, correlate it to what they know about that person and determine where each person is at emotionally. These facial cues can pass in a moment but they have to pick it up or they can miss important information. When a person is new to them they have to collect enough information on that person to understand them. This is true for all of us, but those with AS have to do it in a detailed way because they don’t do inductive reasoning well (Morris 2010).