Analogical reasoning ability in autistic and typically developing children


Kinga Morsanyi, School of Psychology, Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK; e-mail:


Recent studies (e.g. Dawson et al., 2007) have reported that autistic people perform in the normal range on the Raven Progressive Matrices test, a formal reasoning test that requires integration of relations as well as the ability to infer rules and form high-level abstractions. Here we compared autistic and typically developing children, matched on age, IQ, and verbal and non-verbal working memory, using both the Raven test and pictorial tests of analogical reasoning. Whereas the Raven test requires only formal analogical reasoning, the other analogy tests require use of real-world knowledge, as well as inhibition of salient distractors. We found that autistic children performed as well as controls on all these tests of reasoning with relations. Our findings indicate that the basic ability to reason systematically with relations, for both abstract and thematic materials, is intact in autism.