, Volume 42, Issue 11, pp 2383-2392
Date: 06 Mar 2012

Flexible Visual Processing in Young Adults with Autism: The Effects of Implicit Learning on a Global–Local Task

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We utilized a hierarchical figures task to determine the default level of perceptual processing and the flexibility of visual processing in a group of high-functioning young adults with autism (n = 12) and a typically developing young adults, matched by chronological age and IQ (n = 12). In one task, participants attended to one level of the figure and ignored the other in order to determine the default level of processing. In the other task, participants attended to both levels and the proportion of trials in which a target would occur at either level was manipulated. Both groups exhibited a global processing bias and showed similar flexibility in performance, suggesting that persons with autism may not be impaired in flexible shifting between task levels.