Intelligence Profile and Executive Function Between Children with Typical Development and Children with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder

Faradila Azka, Donny Hendrawan
(Submitted 15 February 2022)
(Published 28 April 2023)


Intelligence plays a significant role in determining the severity of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), thus understanding intelligence among children with ASD is important to guide planning of appropriate interventions. Scores on IQ tests as well as intelligence sub-components between ASD and typically developed (TD) children, reflect distinct underlying cognitive processes. Therefore, a comprehensive investigation of the neuropsychological aspects of children ASD may better refine our understanding of the cognitive abilities among children with ASD. The current cross-sectional study investigated differences in intelligence profiles and executive function among children with TD children and children with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFASD). A total of 34 participants met criteria for inclusion with 24 participants in the TD group, and 10 in the HFASD. Some of the measures which were used included the SB-LM, Executive Function Indonesia (EFI), and Autism Spectrum Quotient: Children's Version (AQ-Child). Data were analysed using Spearman correlation and Mann-Whitney test. Results showed no differences in the intelligence profile in both groups, yet significant differences were found in the composite EF, Inhibitory Control, and Cognitive Flexibility. Additionally, there was a difference in the correlation of intelligence and EF variables between the two groups. Thus, it can be concluded that both groups show qualitatively different cognitive processes. A recommendation derived from these results is that comprehensive EF assessment and treatment should be conducted as part of the global evaluation of ASD patients, primarily to design an intervention to enhance their academic domain.


autism spectrum disorder; executive function; intelligence

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.22146/jpsi.73068


Ackerman, D. J., & Friedman-Krauss, A. H. (2017). Preschoolers’ Executive Function: Importance, Contributors, Research Needs and Assessment Options. ETS Research Report Series, 2017(1), 1–24.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). American Psychiatry Publishing.

Anderson, M. (2008). What can autism and dyslexia tell us about intelligence? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 61(1), 116–128.

Ardila, A., Rosselli, M., Matute, E., & Guajardo, S. (2005). The influence of the parents’ educational level on the development of executive functions. Developmental Neuropsychology, 28(1), 539–560.

Auyeung, B., Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., & Allison, C. (2008). The autism spectrum quotient: Children’s version (AQ-Child). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(7), 1230–1240.

Baum, K. T., Shear, P. K., Howe, S. R., & Bishop, S. L. (2015). A comparison of WISC-IV and SB-5 intelligence scores in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Autism, 19(6), 736–745.

Becker, K. a. (2003). Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales , Assessment Service Bulletin Number 1 History of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales : Content and Psychometrics. Intelligence, 1, 14.

Beier, M. E., & Ackerman, P. L. (2005). Age, ability, and the role of prior knowledge on the acquisition of new domain knowledge: Promising results in a real-world learning environment. Psychology and Aging, 20(2), 341–355.

Brooks-gunn, A. J., Duncan, G. J., & Brooks-gunn, J. (2008). The Effects of Children Poverty on Children. The Future of Children, 7(2), 55–71.

Coolican, J., Bryson, S. E., & Zwaigenbaum, L. (2008). Brief report: Data on the Stanford-Binet intelligence scales (5th ed.) in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(1), 190–197.

Craig, F., Margari, F., Legrottaglie, A. R., Palumbi, R., de Giambattista, C., & Margari, L. (2016). A review of executive function deficits in autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 12, 1191–1202.

Crespi, B. J. (2016). Autism as a disorder of high intelligence. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 10(JUN), 1–17.

Crocker, L., & Algina, J. (2008). Introduction to Classical and Modern Test Theory. Cengage Learning.

Dawson, M., Soulières, I., Gernsbacher, M. A., & Mottron, L. (2015). The level and nature of autistic intelligence. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 18(1), 657–662.

Deary, I. J., & Johnson, W. (2010). Intelligence and education: Causal perceptions drive analytic processes and therefore conclusions. International Journal of Epidemiology, 39(5), 1362–1369.

Diamond, A. (2013). Executive functions. Annual Review of Psychology, 64, 135–168.

Dijkhuis, R., de Sonneville, L., Ziermans, T., Staal, W., & Swaab, H. (2020). Autism Symptoms, Executive Functioning and Academic Progress in Higher Education Students. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 50(4), 1353–1363.

Dubow, E. F., Boxer, P., & Huesmann, L. R. (2009). Long-term effects of parents’ education on children’s educational and occupational success: Mediation by family interactions, child aggression, and teenage aspirations. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 55(3), 224–249.

Friedman, N. P., & Miyake, A. (2004). The Relations Among Inhibition and Interference Control Functions: A Latent-Variable Analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 133(1), 101–135.

Granader, Y., Wallace, G. L., Hardy, K. K., Yerys, B. E., Lawson, R. A., Rosenthal, M., Wills, M. C., Dixon, E., Pandey, J., Penna, R., Schultz, R. T., & Kenworthy, L. (2014). Characterizing the Factor Structure of Parent Reported Executive Function in Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Impact of Cognitive Inflexibility. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(12), 3056–3062.

Gravetter, F. J., & Forzano, L. A. (2012). Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences (4th ed.). Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Hackman, D. A., Farah, M. J., & Meaney, M. J. (2010). 5. How does the brain change after birth? Socioeconomic status and the brain: Mechanistic insights from human and animal research. Neuroscience, 11(September), 651–659.

Happé, F., & Frith, U. (2006). The weak coherence account: Detail-focused cognitive style in autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36(1), 5–25.

Harris, S. L., Handleman, J. S., & Burton, J. L. (1991). The Stanford Binet Profiles of Young Children with Autism. Special Services in the Schools, 6(1–2), 135–143.

Hendrawan, D., Fauzani, F., Carolina C., Fatimah, H. N., Wijaya, P.F, Kurniawati, F. (2015). The Construction Of Excecutive Function Instruments For Early Child Ages In Indonesia: A Pilot Study. “ Promoting Children’s Health Development and Well -Being: Integrating Cultural Diversity”. International Conference On Child and Adolescent Mental Health., 17–28.

Joseph, R. M., Tager-Flusberg, H., & Lord, C. (2002). Cognitive profiles and social-communicative functioning in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 43(6), 807–821.

Kanne, S. M., & Huber, D. H. (2011). Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scales and Revised Versions. Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology, 2373–2378. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-79948-3_1596

Kenworthy, L., Yerys, B. E., Anthony, L. G., & Wallace, G. L. (2008). Understanding executive control in autism spectrum disorders in the lab and in the real world. Neuropsychology Review, 18(4), 320–338.

Kerlinger, Fred N. & Howard B. Lee. 2000. Foundations of Behavioral Research. 4th Edition. Florida: Harcourt Inc.

Merchán-Naranjo, J., Boada, L., del Rey-Mejías, Á., Mayoral, M., Llorente, C., Arango, C., & Parellada, M. (2016). Executive function is affected in autism spectrum disorder, but does not correlate with intelligence. Revista de Psiquiatría y Salud Mental (English Edition), 9(1), 39–50.

Miller, M., Chukoskie, L., Zinni, M., Townsend, J., & Trauner, D. (2014). Dyspraxia, motor function and visual-motor integration in autism. Behavioural Brain Research, 269, 95–102.

Narzisi, A., Muratori, F., Calderoni, S., Fabbro, F., & Urgesi, C. (2013). Neuropsychological profile in high functioning autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(8), 1895–1909.

Ozonoff, S., & Jensen, J. (1999). Specific executive function profiles in three neurodevelopmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 29(2), 171–177.

Pellicano, E. (2013). Testing the predictive power of cognitive atypicalities in autistic children: Evidence from a 3-year follow-up study. Autism Research, 6(4), 258–267.

Plomin, R., & Spinath, F. M. (2004). Intelligence: Genetics, Genes, and Genomics. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86(1), 112–129.

Qian, N., & Lipkin, R. M. (2011). A Learning-Style Theory for Understanding Autistic Behaviors. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 5(August), 1–17.

Robinson, S., Goddard, L., Dritschel, B., Wisley, M., & Howlin, P. (2009). Executive functions in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Brain and Cognition, 71(3), 362–368.

Rommelse, N., Langerak, I., Van Der Meer, J., De Bruijn, Y., Staal, W., Oerlemans, A., & Buitelaar, J. (2015). Intelligence may moderate the cognitive profile of patients with ASD. PLoS ONE, 10(10), 1–17.

Sattler, J. M. (1965). Analysis of Functions of the 1960 Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, Form L-M. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 21(2), 173–179.<173::aid-jclp2270210211>;2-f

Scheuffgen, K., Happé, F., Anderson, M., & Frith, U. (2000). High “intelligence,” low “IQ”? Speed of processing and measured IQ in children with autism. Development and Psychopathology, 12(1), 83–90.

Schmitt, L. M., White, S. P., Cook, E. H., Sweeney, J. A., & Mosconi, M. W. (2018). Cognitive mechanisms of inhibitory control deficits in autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 59(5), 586–595.

Sektnan, M., McClelland, M. M., Acock, A., & Morrison, F. J. (2010). Relations between early family risk, children’s behavioral regulation, and academic achievement. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 25(4), 464–479.

Traverso, L., Viterbori, P., & Usai, M. C. (2015). Improving executive function in childhood: Evaluation of a training intervention for 5-year-old children. Frontiers in Psychology, 6(APR), 1–14.

Van Eylen, L., Boets, B., Steyaert, J., Evers, K., Wagemans, J., & Noens, I. (2011). Cognitive flexibility in autism spectrum disorder: Explaining the inconsistencies? Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5(4), 1390–1401.

Wallace, G. L., Kenworthy, L., Pugliese, C. E., Popal, H. S., White, E. I., Brodsky, E., & Martin, A. (2016). Real-World Executive Functions in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Profiles of Impairment and Associations with Adaptive Functioning and Co-morbid Anxiety and Depression. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(3), 1071–1083.

Whitby, P. J. S., & Mancil, G. R. (2009). Academic achievement profiles of children with high functioning autism and Asperger syndrome: A review of the literature. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 44(4), 551–560.

Wulan, R. (1995). Evaluasi Penggunaan Tes Binet. Buletin Psikologi, 3(2), 49–57.

Zeidan, J., Fombonne, E., Scorah, J., Ibrahim, A., Durkin, M. S., Saxena, S., Yusuf, A., Shih, A., & Elsabbagh, M. (2022). Global prevalence of autism: A systematic review update. Autism Research, 15( 5), 778– 790.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Jurnal Psikologi

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.