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ERIC Number: EJ1058094
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-May
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1362-3613
Holistic Processing of Faces as Measured by the Thatcher Illusion Is Intact in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Cleary, Laura; Brady, Nuala; Fitzgerald, Michael; Gallagher, Louise
Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, v19 n4 p451-458 May 2015
Impaired face perception in autism spectrum disorders is thought to reflect a perceptual style characterized by componential rather than configural processing of faces. This study investigated face processing in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders using the Thatcher illusion, a perceptual phenomenon exhibiting "inversion effects" that characterize typical face processing. While previous studies used a limited range of face orientations, we measured perception of normality/grotesqueness of faces at seven orientations ranging from upright to inverted to allow for a detailed comparison of both reaction time and error by orientation profiles. We found that, like their typically developing peers, adolescents with autism spectrum disorders show strong inversion effects whereby reaction times were longer and error rates greater at inverted when compared to upright orientations. Additionally, the adolescents with autism spectrum disorders, like their peers in the typically developing group, show a marked nonlinearity in the error by orientation profile. Error is roughly constant out to 90° and then increases steeply, indicating a sudden shift from configural to local processing that reflects experience with faces in their typical orientations. These findings agree with recent reports that face perception is qualitatively similar in autistic and neurotypical groups.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ireland
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Raven Progressive Matrices; Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children