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Autism Res. 2015 Oct;8(5):575-82. doi: 10.1002/aur.1472. Epub 2015 Mar 7.

A Point of Departure in the Comparison of Social and Nonsocial Visual Orienting Among Persons With Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (T.F., J.A.B.).
Hôspital Rivière-des-Prairies (J.A.B) Montréal, Quebec, Canada; Department of Psychology, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada (D.B.).


Endogenous visual orienting among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and among typically developing (TD) children was examined using a Posner-type task that was modified to include social and nonsocial cues and targets to test hypotheses regarding information (social or nonsocial) and cue processing (long or short stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs)). The findings suggest intact endogenous orienting to face and mixed face targets using hand and arrow cues among children with ASDs who were matched to typically developing children (TDC) on the basis of nonverbal mental age (MA) at approximately 8.5 years. The findings from this study challenge the notions of a social orienting impairment and of mechanical social orienting as the children with ASDs in this study demonstrated strong orienting effects in all conditions and social sensitivity in the long stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) condition.


Posner task; autism spectrum disorders; social orienting; visual orienting

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