Monday, June 15, 2009

Left-brain routes to social skills

In autism, there are fundamental deficits in the ability to read and use mental-state information available from faces, voices, or body gestures... Nevertheless... a small percentage of children with autism develop the ability to pass false-belief tests via language.

In autism, language is the single most significant prognostic factor for long-term cognitive, social, and adaptive outcomes... Some children with autism, the minority with normal or near-normal linguistic ability, can use language to reason logically through false-belief tasks...
--Helen Tager-Flusberg and Robert M. Joseph, "How Language Facilitates the Acquisition of False-Belief Understanding in Children with Autism."

By the same token, I wonder, how many of us left-brain neurotypicals tend to use language to reason through social situations for which we lack the right-brainer's gut social instincts?

And might left-brain children best develop social skills not by the baptism-by-fire approach of peer group immersion, but by the armchair approach of social analysis?

1 comment:

ChemProf said...

Yep. I'm a left-brained (borderline Asperger's) introvert, but can function pretty well socially. I credit my father, who taught me explicitly to analyze social situations and memorize social rules. We can figure it out, but aren't going to do so just because we are stuck in a room with a lot of other kids.