ERIC Number: EJ874165
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Feb
Abstractor: As Provided
The psychophysics of Visual Motion and Global form Processing in Autism
Koldewyn, Kami; Whitney, David; Rivera, Susan M.
Brain, v133 n2 p599-610 Feb 2010
Several groups have recently reported that people with autism may suffer from a deficit in visual motion processing and proposed that these deficits may be related to a general dorsal stream dysfunction. In order to test the dorsal stream deficit hypothesis, we investigated coherent and biological motion perception as well as coherent form perception in a group of adolescents with autism and a group of age-matched typically developing controls. If the dorsal stream hypothesis were true, we would expect to document deficits in both coherent and biological motion processing in this group but find no deficit in coherent form perception. Using the method of constant stimuli and standard psychophysical analysis techniques, we measured thresholds for coherent motion, biological motion and coherent form. We found that adolescents with autism showed reduced sensitivity to both coherent and biological motion but performed as well as age-matched controls during coherent form perception. Correlations between intelligence quotient and task performance, however, appear to drive much of the group difference in coherent motion perception. Differences between groups on coherent motion perception did not remain significant when intelligence quotient was controlled for, but group differences in biological motion perception were more robust, remaining significant even when intelligence quotient differences were accounted for. Additionally, aspects of task performance on the biological motion perception task were related to autism symptomatology. These results do not support a general dorsal stream dysfunction in adolescents with autism but provide evidence of a more complex impairment in higher-level dynamic attentional processes.
Descriptors: Intelligence, Autism, Intelligence Quotient, Adolescents, Motion, Cognitive Processes, Visual Stimuli, Perception, Attention, Thinking Skills, Correlation, Task Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A