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Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Nov 1;70(9):812-6. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.07.025. Epub 2011 Aug 31.

Visual acuity in adults with Asperger's syndrome: no evidence for "eagle-eyed" vision.

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School of Education and Communication, CHILD Programme, Institute of Disability Research, Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden.



Autism spectrum conditions (ASC) are defined by criteria comprising impairments in social interaction and communication. Altered visual perception is one possible and often discussed cause of difficulties in social interaction and social communication. Recently, Ashwin et al. suggested that enhanced ability in local visual processing in ASC was due to superior visual acuity, but that study has been the subject of methodological criticism, placing the findings in doubt.


The present study investigated visual acuity thresholds in 24 adults with Asperger's syndrome and compared their results with 25 control subjects with the 2 Meter 2000 Series Revised ETDRS Chart.


The distribution of visual acuities within the two groups was highly similar, and none of the participants had superior visual acuity.


Superior visual acuity in individuals with Asperger's syndrome could not be established, suggesting that differences in visual perception in ASC are not explained by this factor. A continued search for explanations of superior ability in local visual processing in persons with ASC is therefore warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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