Project Title: Adult Autistic Readers of Literary Fictional Narrative: A Cognitive Aesthetics Approach
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
About Andrew’s Research
My project investigates how autistic adults engage with literary narrative texts, and how the affordances of these texts offer both challenges and advantages to adult autistic readers, who demonstrate a different cognitive profile compared to neurotypical readers. Autism is characterised as a neurodevelopmental condition affecting multiple domains of cognition, including, primarily, social cognition, sensory processing, executive functioning, episodic memory, motor processing, and linguistic processing. My project looks into the strengths and weaknesses of this cognitive reading profile relative to those of neurotypical readers, and how it influences the processing abilities and experiences of adult autistic readers of literary narratives.
Working between both literary studies and cognitive psychology, this project will utilise a mixture of textual analysis and qualitative analysis to generate its insights. In addition to the topic it explores, this project seeks to challenge previous deficit-based and medicalised models of autism, which currently contribute to ongoing stigma about autism, and highlight instead the exceptional processing abilities of autistic people.