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Autism. 2004 Sep;8(3):229-48.

Superior visual search in adults with autism.

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University of Cambridge, UK.


Recent studies have suggested that children with autism perform better than matched controls on visual search tasks and that this stems from a superior visual discrimination ability. This study assessed whether these findings generalize from children to adults with autism. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that, like children, adults with autism were superior to controls at searching for targets. Experiment 3 showed that increases in target-distractor similarity slowed the visual search performance of the control group significantly more than that of the autism group, suggesting that the adults with autism have a superior visual discrimination ability. Thus, these experiments replicate in adults previous findings in children with autism. Superior unique item detection in adults with autism, stemming from enhanced discrimination, is discussed in the light of the possible role of stimulus processing disturbances in the disorder in general.

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