The visual perception of motion by observers with autism spectrum disorders: A review and synthesis
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- Kaiser, M.D. & Shiffrar, M. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (2009) 16: 761. doi:10.3758/PBR.16.5.761
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Traditionally, psychological research on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has focused on social and cognitive abilities. Vision provides an important input channel to both of these processes, and, increasingly, researchers are investigating whether observers with ASD differ from typical observers in their visual percepts. Recently, significant controversies have arisen over whether observers with ASD differ from typical observers in their visual analyses of movement. Initial studies suggested that observers with ASD experience significant deficits in their visual sensitivity to coherent motion in random dot displays but not to point-light displays of human motion. More recent evidence suggests exactly the opposite: that observers with ASD do not differ from typical observers in their visual sensitivity to coherent motion in random dot displays, but do differ from typical observers in their visual sensitivity to human motion. This review examines these apparently conflicting results, notes gaps in previous findings, suggests a potentially unifying hypothesis, and identifies areas ripe for future research.