Autism-Spectrum Disorder: Testing Perceptions of Reality through the Monty Hall Problem

Auelua-Toomey, Sakaria
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Visual perception of reality has evolved for fitness and not for perceiving an accurate reality, indicating that typical humans perceive an inaccurate perception of reality. Previous research indicates that other information processing systems may also interact with reality the same way: using heuristics. Heuristics are mental-shortcuts that are used to facilitate cognitively effortless interaction with the environment, but they often affect accuracy. Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have demonstrated to be less susceptible to certain heuristics. The lack of heuristic use may attribute to perceiving an objective reality. The Monty Hall problem (MHP) is a probability reasoning question that elicits heuristics that typically leads to incorrect conclusions in the MHP. The objective of this study is to measure the heuristic use between ASD and non-ASD individuals using the MHP. Results indicate that ASD participants were significantly more likely to solve the MHP correctly and understand the reasoning behind the MHP than non-ASD participants. Results could indicate a need to revisit leading ASD theories and theories of perception. Implications of the results could also be used to help diagnose individuals with ASD at an early age. Future research should use imaging techniques to determine brain structures responsible for heuristic use.
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