Many studies have investigated impairments in cognitive domains in adults with autism spectrum disorder. Yet, to date, a comprehensive overview on the patterns of cognitive functioning is lacking. The present report summarizes the literature on nonsocial and social cognitive functioning in adults with autism spectrum disorder, allowing for comparison of the severity of deficits between different domains.
Results of this systematic review and meta-analysis suggest that adults with autism spectrum disorder show impairments in both social and nonsocial cognitive domains. Specifically, large impairments were found in theory of mind and emotion perception and processing, followed by medium impairments in processing speed and verbal learning and memory. The least altered cognitive domains were attention and vigilance. These findings contribute to the understanding of the patterns of cognitive functioning in these individuals and may assist in the identification of targets for cognitive interventions.
Velikonja T, Fett AK, Velthorst E: Patterns of Nonsocial and Social Cognitive Functioning in Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry [Epub ahead of print, Jan. 2, 2019; doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.3645.]