Top 10 Posts of 2012

Here were your favorite posts this year, based on pageviews.  I was pleasantly surprised to see several of my own favorites in the list:

  1. In "what do giftedness and extraversion/introversion have in common?" I developed the idea of a "cluster concept" and suggested that such concepts are responsible for a lot of fuzziness and disagreement in diagnosis.  "Autism," "giftedness," and "extraversion," to name a few, are all clusters of traits of which different numbers can coexist in the same person--how many of the traits must be present to diagnose someone?  Arguably, the DSM-5 won't solve this problem just by defining autism as a spectrum disorder.
  2. "Basic questions we should ask about social skills before theorizing about autism" argues that researchers need to better understand what social skills are in the neurotypical population and suggests some questions they should be asking.
  3. "Social anxiety: the elephant in the room of autism" reviewed a naturalistic study by Blythe Corbett and colleagues.  During free play, neurotypical child confederates invited autistic & neurotypical participants to play and the researchers measured participants' cortisol at crucial points to estimate stress levels.  Even in such a low-key social situation, older autistic children experience extreme anxiety, which might make it harder to cope and use whatever skills they've learned.
  4.  "Knowing about knowledge: thoughts about the performance-competence distinction" explained the important concept of a distinction between someone's "performance" in a specific study situation and their actual competence at the task being measured.  I suggested that rather than "knowing" or "not knowing," a person's level of knowledge might be gradated.
  5. "Another strike against the 'broken mirror' theory of autism" describes a study by Stewart Mostofsky and colleagues which suggests that, contrary to the assumptions of the "broken mirror" theory, taking someone else's perspective requires more than just imagining yourself performing the action. 
  6. In "How to talk to someone with hearing loss or APD," I shared Northwestern University Audiology Clinic's tips for communication and explained why they work.
  7. An excerpt from a large research project I did this summer, "What the gifted education field needs to learn about learning disabilities" addresses some common misconceptions gifted experts have about learning disabilities and how to tell whether or not a gifted person has one.
  8. "How do people with ASD really feel about novelty?" describes my encounter with someone whose special interest was in something arguably rare and novel, and asks whether people on the spectrum always dislike novelty, or only certain kinds.
  9. I've often been dissatisfied with ideas about "global" and "local" thinking that assume all global thinkers are visual-spatial with good visual processing and all local thinkers are verbal with good auditory processing.  In "A global-to-local continuum of thinking" I attempt to come up with a better definition of these thinking styles.
  10. In "A Tale of Two Digit Spans" I talked about why inattention and auditory processing problems can look similar, and proposed a possible simple test for differentiating between the two.

Thanks so much for reading and following this blog.  Looking forward to another year of sharing fascinating research and big ideas with you!

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