Is atheism linked to autism? Controversial study points to relationship between the two

Mail Online
September 21, 2011

People with ‘mild’ forms of autism are more likely to be atheists, according to a controversial new study – and more likely to shun organised religion in general.

The study, which looked at posts on autism forums, focused on people with high-functioning autism such as Asperger’s.

The study, from University of Boston, speculates that common autistic spectrum behaviours such as ‘a preference for logical beliefs’ and a distrust of metaphor and figures of speech, could be responsible.

The study authors, Catherine Caldwell-Harris and Patrick MacNamara¬† studied discussions by 192 different posters on an autism website. They also looked at a survey of 61 people with high-functioning autism, and graphed¬† against results from the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) test. The results appeared to show that those with high AQ scores were ‘more likely’ to be atheists.

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