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'Sticky attention' in autistic spectrum disorder--visual psychophysics and movement

Wilson, A.D., Plumb, M., Williams, J.H.G. and Mon-Williams, M. (2006) 'Sticky attention' in autistic spectrum disorder--visual psychophysics and movement. Perception, 35 (ECVP A). p. 132. ISSN 0301-0066

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We compared children with (n=19, age range 6 - 16 years) and without (n=112) autistic spectrum disorder in a series of visual psychophysical and movement tasks. The tasks provided objective performance measures that tested previous claims based on subjective observations regarding autism. We found that children with autism: (i) were indistinguishable from controls in their form and motion coherence thresholds; (ii) were indistinguishable in their ability to detect subtle changes in realistic dynamic face stimuli; (iii) were indistinguishable in an imitation task requiring tracking a simple rhythmic movement; (iv) showed idiosyncratic differences in a joint attention task. In the joint attention task, targets moved around four corners of a screen during a 90 s video. Three conditions were explored: (i) a technician's head displayed in the middle of the screen (baseline); (ii) the head moved congruently with target position; (iii) the head moved incongruently. The movement execution of the autistic group was indistinguishable from the controls but there were differences in reaction time. The children with autism fell into one of three groups: (i) normal; (ii) slower RT with congruent head movement; (iii) slower RT with incongruent head movement. We suggest that 'sticky attention' in autism can reconcile our laboratory findings with clinical observations.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Biological Sciences (Leeds) > Institute of Membrane and Systems Biology (Leeds) > Cardiovascular and Sports Sciences Group (Leeds)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2009 16:41
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2015 17:30
Published Version: http://www.perceptionweb.com/abstract.cgi?id=v0602...
Status: Published
Publisher: PION LTD
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9811

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