Children with autism spectrum disorder have an exceptional explanatory drive
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An "explanatory drive" motivates children to explain ambiguity. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders are interested in how systems work, but it is unknown whether they have an explanatory drive. We presented children with and without autism spectrum disorder unsolvable problems in a physical and in a social context and evaluated problem-solving and explanation-seeking responses. In the physical context (but not the social context), the children with autism spectrum disorder showed a stronger explanatory drive than controls. Importantly, the number of explanatory behaviors made by children with autism spectrum disorder in the social context was independent of social and communicative impairments. Children with autism spectrum disorder did not show an exceptional explanatory drive in the social domain. These results suggest that children with autism spectrum disorder have an explanatory drive and that the explanatory drive may be domain specific.
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