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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1996 Oct;37(7):873-7.

Studying weak central coherence at low levels: children with autism do not succumb to visual illusions. A research note.

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MRC Cognitive Development Unit, London, U.K.


While anecdotal reports of abnormal perceptual experiences in autism abound, there have been to date no experimental studies showing fundamental perceptual peculiarities. The present paper reports results from a first study of low-level visual integration in autism. Twenty-five subjects with autism, 21 normal 7- and 8-year-olds, and 26 children with learning difficulties were asked to make simple judgements about six well-known visual illusions. Two conditions were used, in an attempt to explore group differences; standard two-dimensional black and white line drawings, and the same figures augmented with raised coloured lines. The subjects with autism were less likely to succumb to the two-dimensional illusions than were the other groups, and were less aided by the three-dimensional 'disembedded' condition. These striking results are discussed with reference to the 'central coherence' account of autism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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