Are People With Autism Less Surprised By The Unforeseen?


Do people with autism handle unknown and unexpected events better than others? According to a recent study, they do.

In this issue, we’ll talk about it.

What did the study find?

In a simple learning task, researchers found that adults with autism were less surprised by unexpected images than adults without autism. In fact, the adults who were the least surprised were the ones with the most pronounced symptoms of autism.

How was the study carried out?

During the research, 49 people (24 with autism; 25 without) completed a task revolving around expected images on a computer screen following a high or low sound.

Why would people with autism be less surprised by unexpected events?

According to the leading researcher, the tendency to be less surprised by unexpected events could be the result of a tendency of people with autism to over-estimate how changeable an environment is.

This in turn lowers the amount of impact prior expectations have in guiding their current behavior or tendencies.

“We know from previous studies that people with autism often aren’t surprised by things that would surprise other people,” said the lead researcher. “This may be because of differences in how people with autism build expectations. Our expectations bias our behavior in subtle ways, so being less susceptible to these effects may result in strengths as well as difficulties.”

Why is this study important?

A common criteria for diagnosing autism is the insistence on certain things being continually done the same way. This can include daily activities like eating the same food at the same time every day.

However, there’s very little completed research on how people with autism react to environmental change.


If your child has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or you suspect your child has an autism spectrum disorder, contact The Fitzgerald Law Firm.

The first consultation is always free and our number is 800-323-9900.