The Weak Coherence Account: Detail-focused Cognitive Style in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Article

Abstract

“Weak central coherence” refers to the detail-focused processing style proposed to characterise autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The original suggestion of a core deficit in central processing resulting in failure to extract global form/meaning, has been challenged in three ways. First, it may represent an outcome of superiority in local processing. Second, it may be a processing bias, rather than deficit. Third, weak coherence may occur alongside, rather than explain, deficits in social cognition. A review of over 50 empirical studies of coherence suggests robust findings of local bias in ASD, with mixed findings regarding weak global processing. Local bias appears not to be a mere side-effect of executive dysfunction, and may be independent of theory of mind deficits. Possible computational and neural models are discussed.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorders central coherence cognitive style individual differences local–global processing 

References

  1. Ameli R., Courchesne E., Lincoln A., Kaufman A. S., Grillon C., (1988). Visual memory processes in high-functioning individuals with autism Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 18:601–615PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) Washington, DC American Psychiatric AssociationGoogle Scholar
  3. Aurnhammer-Frith U., (1969). Emphasis and meaning in recall in normal and autistic children Language & Speech 12:29–38Google Scholar
  4. Barnea-Goraly N., Kwon H., Menon V., Eliez S., Lotspeich L., Reiss A. L., (2004). White matter structure in autism: Preliminary evidence from diffusion tensor imaging Biological Psychiatry 55:323–326PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Baron-Cohen S., (2002). The extreme male brain theory of autism Trends in Cognitive Sciences 6:248–254PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Baron-Cohen S., (2003). The essential difference: The truth about the male and female brain New York, NY Basic BooksGoogle Scholar
  7. Baron-Cohen S., Leslie A. M., Frith U., (1985). Does the autistic child have a ‘theory of mind’? Cognition 21:37–46PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Baron-Cohen S., Wheelwright, S., Stott, C., Bolton, P., Goodyer, I., (1997). Is there a link between engineering and autism? Autism 1:101–109Google Scholar
  9. Baron-Cohen S., Richler J., Bisarya D., Gurunathan N., Wheelwright S., (2003). The Systemising Quotient (SQ): An investigation of adults with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism and normal sex differences Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B, Special issue on “Autism: Mind and Brain” 358:361–374Google Scholar
  10. Baron-Cohen S., Wheelwright S., Griffin R., Lawson J., Hill J., (2002). The exact mind: Empathising and systemising in autism spectrum conditions In: U. Goswami, (Ed.). Handbook of cognitive development Malden, MA, USA Blackwell Publishers (pp. 491–508)Google Scholar
  11. Bartlett F. C., (1932). Remembering: A study in experimental and social psychology Cambridge, England Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  12. Bellugi U., Lichtenberger L., Jones W., Lai Z., St. George M., (2000). The neurocognitive profile of Williams syndrome: A complex pattern of strengths and weaknesses Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12:7–29PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Belmonte M. K., Allen G., Beckel-Mitchener A., Boulanger L. M., Carper R. A., Webb S. J., (2004). Autism and abnormal development of brain connectivity Journal of Neuroscience 24:9228–9231PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Belmonte M. K., Yurgelun-Todd D. A., (2003). Functional anatomy of impaired selective attention and compensatory processing in autism Cognitive Brain Research 17:651–664PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Benowitz L. I., Moya K. L., Levine D. N., (1990). Impaired verbal reasoning and constructional apraxia in subjects with right hemisphere damage Neuropsychologia 23:231–241Google Scholar
  16. Berger H. J., Aerts F. H., van Spaendonck K. P., Cools A. R., Teunisse J. P., (2003). Central coherence and cognitive shifting in relation to social improvement in high-functioning young adults with autism Journal of Clinical & Experimental Neuropsychology 25:502–511Google Scholar
  17. Berger H. J., van Spaendonck K. P., Horstink M. W., Buytenhuijs E. L., Lammers P. W., Cools A. R., (1993). Cognitive shifting as a predictor of progress in social understanding in high-functioning adolescents with autism: A prospective study Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders 23:341–359Google Scholar
  18. Bertone A., Mottron L., Jelenic P., Faubert J., (2003). Motion perception in autism: A “complex” issue Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 15:218–225Google Scholar
  19. Beversdorf, D. Q., Anderson, J. M., Manning, S. E., Anderson, S. L., Nordgren, R. E., Felopulos, G. J., Nadeau, S. E., Heilman, K. M., Bauman, M. L. (1998). The effect of semantic and emotional context on written recall for verbal language in high functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder Journal of Neurology,Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 65:685–692PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Beversdorf, D. Q., Smith, B. W., Crucian, G. P., Anderson, J. M., Keillor, J. M., Barrett, A. M., Hughes, J. D., Felopulos, G. J., Bauman, M. L., Nadeau, S. E., & Heilman, K. M. (2000). Increased discrimination of “false memories” in autism spectrum disorder Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 97:8734–8737Google Scholar
  21. Bonnel A., Mottron L., Peretz I., Trudel M., Gallun E., Bonnel A. M., (2003). Enhanced pitch sensitivity in individuals with autism: A signal detection analysis Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 15:226–235PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Booth R., Charlton R., Hughes C., Happé F., (2003). Disentangling weak coherence and executive dysfunction: Planning drawing in Autism and ADHD Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 358(1430):387–392Google Scholar
  23. Brian J. A., Bryson S. E., (1996). Disembedding performance and recognition memory in autism/PDD Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 37:865–872PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Briskman J., Happé F., Frith U., (2001). Exploring the cognitive phenotype of autism: Weak ‘central coherence’ in parents and siblings of children with autism. II. Real-life skills and preferences Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 42:309–316PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Brock J., Brown C. C., Boucher J., Rippon G., (2002). The temporal binding deficit hypothesis of autism Development & Psychopathology 14:209–224Google Scholar
  26. Brosnan M. J., Scott F. J., Fox S., Pye J., (2004). Gestalt processing in autism: Failure to process perceptual relationships and the implications for contextual understanding Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 45:459–469PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Burack J. A., (1994). Selective attention deficits in persons with autism: Preliminary evidence of an inefficient attentional lens Journal of Abnormal Psychology 103:535–543PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Caron M. J., Mottron L., Rainville C., Chouinard S., (2004). Do high functioning persons with autism present superior spatial abilities? Neuropsychologia 42:467–481PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Castelli F., Frith C., Happé F., Frith U., (2002). Autism, Asperger syndrome and brain mechanisms for the attribution of mental states to animated shapes Brain 125:1839–1849PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Chen Y., Nakayama K., Levy D., Matthysse S., Holzman P., (2003). Processing of global, but not local, motion direction is deficient in schizophrenia Schizophrenia Research 61:215–227PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Chugani D. C., Muzik O., Behen M., Rothermel R., Janisse J. J., Lee J., Chugani H. T., (1999). Developmental changes in brain serotonin synthesis capacity in autistic and nonautistic children Annals of Neurology 45:287–295PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Chung M. K., Dalton K. M., Alexander A. L., Davidson R. J., (2004). Less white matter concentration in autism: 2D voxel-based morphometry Neuroimage 23:242–251PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Chynn E. W., Garrod A., Demick J., DeVos E., (1991). Correlations among field dependence-independence, sex, sex-role stereotype, and age of preschoolers Perceptual and Motor Skills 73:747–756PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Cohen I. L., (1994). An artificial neural network analogue of learning in autism Biological Psychiatry 36:5–20PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Courchesne E., (2004). Brain development in autism: Early overgrowth followed by premature arrest of growth Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews 10:106–111Google Scholar
  36. DeGelder B., Vroomen J., Van der Heide L., (1991). Face recognition and lip-reading in autism European Journal of Cognitive Psychology 3:69–86Google Scholar
  37. Dennis M., Lazenby A. L., Lockyer L., (2001). Inferential language in high-functioning children with autism Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 31:47–54PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Derryberry D., Tucker D. M., (1994). Motivating the focus of attention In: P. M. Neidenthal, S. Kiayama, (Eds.). The heart’s eye: Emotional influences in perception and attention San Diego, CA Academic Press (pp. 167–196)Google Scholar
  39. Deruelle C., Rondan C., Gepner B., Tardif C., (2004). Spatial frequency and face processing in children with autism and Asperger syndrome Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 34:199–210PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Eskes G. A., Bryson S. E., McCormick T. A., (1990). Comprehension of concrete and abstract words in autistic children Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 20:61–73PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Fink G. R., Halligan, P. W., Marshall, J. C., Frith, C. D., Frackowiak, R. S., Dolan, R. J., (1997). Neural mechanisms involved in the processing of global and local aspects of hierarchically organized visual stimuli Brain 120:1779–1791PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Foxton J. M., Stewart M. E., Barnard L., Rodgers J., Young A. H., O’Brien G., Griffiths T. D., (2003). Absence of auditory ‘global interference’ in autism Brain 126:2703–2709PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Friston K. J., Buechel C., (2000). Attentional modulation of effective connectivity from V2 to V5/MT in humans Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 97:75912–75916Google Scholar
  44. Frith U., (1970). Studies in pattern detection in normal and autistic children: II. Reproduction and production of color sequences Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 10:120–135PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Frith C., (2003). What do imaging studies tell us about the neural basis of autism? Novartis Foundation Symposium 251:149–166PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Frith C., (2004). Is autism a disconnection disorder? Lancet Neurology 3:577PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Frith, U., (1989). Autism: explaining the Enigma. Blackwell Google Scholar
  48. Frith U., Happé F., (1994). Autism: beyond “theory of mind” Cognition 50:115–132PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Frith U., Snowling M., (1983). Reading for meaning and reading for sound in autistic and dyslexic children Journal of Developmental Psychology 1:329–342Google Scholar
  50. Gasper K., Clore G. L., (2002). Attending to the big picture: Mood and global versus local processing of visual information Psychological Science 13:34–40PubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Gepner B., Mestre D. R., Masson G., de Schonen S., (1995). Postural effects of motion vision in young autistic children Neuroreport 6:1211–1214PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Gepner B., Mestre D. R., (2002). Brief report: Postural reactivity to fast visual motion differentiates autistic from children with Asperger syndrome Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders 32:231–238Google Scholar
  53. Gerland, G. (1997). A real person: Life on the outside [Translated from the Swedish by J. Tate]. Souvenir PressGoogle Scholar
  54. Gustafsson L., (1997). Inadequate cortical feature maps: A neural circuit theory of autism Biological Psychiatry 42:1138–1147PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Happé F. G. E., (1994). Wechsler IQ profile and theory of mind in autism: A research note Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 35:1461–1471PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Happé F. G. E., (1996). Studying weak central coherence at low levels: Children with autism do not succumb to visual illusions, a research note Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 37:873–877PubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Happé F. G. E., (1997). Central coherence and theory of mind in autism: Reading homographs in context British Journal of Developmental Psychology 15:1–12Google Scholar
  58. Happé F., (1999). Autism: Cognitive deficit or cognitive style? Trends in Cognitive Sciences 3:216–222PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Happé F., (2000). Parts and wholes, meaning and minds: Central coherence and its relation to theory of mind In: S. Baron-Cohen, H. Tager-Flusberg, D. Cohen, (eds.). Understanding other minds: Perspectives from autism and developmental cognitive neuroscience Oxford Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  60. Happé F., (2001). Social and non-social development in Autism: Where are the links? In: J. A. Burack, T. Charman, N. Yirmiya, P. R. Zelazo, (eds.). Perspectives on development in autism NJ Lawrence Erlbaum AssociatesGoogle Scholar
  61. Happé F., (2003). Cognition in autism: One deficit or many? Autism: Neural basis and treatment possibilities(Novartis Foundation Symposium 251) Chichester Wiley pp. 198–212Google Scholar
  62. Happé, F., & Booth, R. (in preparation). Sentence completion: a simple test of weak coherence in typical development, autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorderGoogle Scholar
  63. Happé F., Briskman J., Frith U., (2001). Exploring the cognitive phenotype of autism: Weak ‘central coherence’ in parents and siblings of children with autism. I. Experimental tests Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 42:299–307PubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Heaton P., (2003). Pitch memory, labelling and disembedding in autism Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 44:543–551Google Scholar
  65. Heaton P., Hermelin B., Pring L., (1998). Autism and pitch processing: a precursor for savant musical ability Music Perception 15:291–305Google Scholar
  66. Heavey L., (2003). Arithmetical savants In: Baroody A. J., Dowker A., (eds.). The development of arithmetic concepts and skills: Constructing adaptive expertise. Studies in mathematical thinking and learning Mahwah, NJ, USA Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers (pp. 409–433)Google Scholar
  67. Heavey L., Pring L., Hermelin B., (1999) A date to remember: The nature of memory in savant calendrical calculators Psychological Medicine 29:145–160PubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Heinze H. J., Hinrichs H., Scholz M., Burchert W., Mangun G. R., (1998). Neural mechanisms of global and local processing: A combined PET and ERP study Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 10:485–498PubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Hermelin B., O’Connor N., (1967). Remembering of words by psychotic and subnormal children British Journal of Psychology 58:213–218PubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Hesse F. W., Spies K., (1996). Effects of negative mood on performance: Reduced capacity or changed processing strategy? European Journal of Social Psychology 26:163–168Google Scholar
  71. Hobson R. P., Ouston J., Lee T., (1988). What’s in a face? The case of autism British Journal of Psychology 79:441–453PubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Jarrold C., Butler D. W., Cottington E. M., Jimenez F., (2000). Linking theory of mind and central coherence bias in autism and in the general population Developmental Psychology 36:126–138PubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Jarrold C., Russell J., (1997). Counting abilities in autism: Possible implications for central coherence theory Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 27:25–37PubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Jolliffe T., Baron-Cohen S., (1997). Are people with autism and Asperger syndrome faster than normal on the Embedded Figures Test? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 38:527–534PubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. Jolliffe T., Baron-Cohen S., (1999). A test of central coherence theory; linguistic processing in high-functioning adults with autism or Asperger’s syndrome: Is local coherence impaired? Cognition 71:149–185PubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. Jolliffe T., Baron-Cohen S., (2000). Linguistic processing in high-functioning adults with autism or Asperger's syndrome. Is global coherence impaired? Psychological Medicine 30:1169–1187PubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. Jolliffe T., Baron-Cohen S., (2001). A test of central coherence theory: Can adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome integrate fragments of an object? Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 6:193–216PubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. John C. H., Hemsley D. R., (1992). Gestalt perception in schizophrenia European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience 241:215–221PubMedGoogle Scholar
  79. Just M. A., Cherkassky V. L., Keller T. A., Minshew N. J., (2004). Cortical activation and synchronization during sentence comprehension in high-functioning autism: Evidence of underconnectivity Brain 127:1811–1821PubMedGoogle Scholar
  80. Kanner L., (1943). Autistic disturbances of affective contact Nervous Child 2:217–250Google Scholar
  81. Klinger L. G., Dawson G., (2001). Prototype formation in autism Development & Psychopathology 13:111–124Google Scholar
  82. Kramer J. H., Kaplan E., Blusewicz M. J., Preston K. A., (1991). Visual hierarchical analysis of block design configural errors Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 13:455–465PubMedGoogle Scholar
  83. Kramer J. H., Ellenberg L., Leonard J., Share L. J., (1996). Developmental sex differences in global–local perceptual bias Neuropsychology 10:402–407Google Scholar
  84. Langdell T., (1978). Recognition of faces: An approach to the study of autism Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 19:255–268Google Scholar
  85. Lawson J., Baron-Cohen S., Wheelwright S., (2004). Empathising and systemising in adults with and without Asperger syndrome Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders 34:301–310Google Scholar
  86. Lee T. S., (2002). Top–down influence in early visual processing: A Bayesian perspective Physiology and Behaviour 77:645–650Google Scholar
  87. Lopez B., Donnelly N., Hadwin J., Leekam S. R., (2004). Face processing in high-functioning adolescents with autism: Evidence for weak central coherence Visual Cognition 11:673–688Google Scholar
  88. Lopez B., Leekam S. R., (2003). Do children with autism fail to process information in context? Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 44:285–300Google Scholar
  89. Mann T. A., Walker P., (2003). Autism and a deficit in broadening the spread of visual attention Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 44:274–284PubMedGoogle Scholar
  90. Marendaz C., (1985). Global precedence and field dependence: Visual routines? Cahiers de Psychologie Cognitive 5:727–745Google Scholar
  91. McClelland J. L., (2000). The basis of hyperspecificity in autism: A preliminary suggestion based on properties of neural nets Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders 30:497–502Google Scholar
  92. McKelvey J. R., Lambert R., Mottron L., Shevell M. I., (1995). Right-hemisphere dysfunction in Asperger’s syndrome Journal of Child Neurology 10:310–314PubMedGoogle Scholar
  93. Mevorach, C., Humphreys, G. W., & Shalev, L. (2005). Attending to local form while ignoring global aspects depends on handedness: evidence from TMS. Nature Neuroscience, published online doi: 10.1038/nn1400Google Scholar
  94. Miller L. K., (1999). The savant syndrome: Intellectual impairment and exceptional skill Psychological Bulletin 125:31–46PubMedGoogle Scholar
  95. Milne, E. (2003). Investigating the correlates of weak central coherence in autism. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of LondonGoogle Scholar
  96. Milne E., Swettenham J., Hansen P., Campbell R., Jeffries H., Plaisted K. I., (2002). High motion coherence thresholds in children with autism Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 43:255–263Google Scholar
  97. Morgan B., Maybery M., Durkin K., (2003). Weak central coherence, poor joint attention, and low verbal ability: Independent deficits in early autism Developmental Psychology 39:646–656PubMedGoogle Scholar
  98. Mottron L., Belleville S., (1993). A study of perceptual analysis in a high-level autistic subject with exceptional graphic abilities Brain and Cognition 23:279–309PubMedGoogle Scholar
  99. Mottron L., Belleville S., Ménard A., (1999). Local bias in autistic subjects as evidenced by graphic tasks: Perceptual hierarchization or working memory deficit? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 40:743–755PubMedGoogle Scholar
  100. Mottron, L., Burack, J. A., Iarocci, G., Belleville, S., Enns, J. T. (2003). Locally oriented perception with intact global processing among adolescents with high-functioning autism: Evidence from multiple paradigms Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 40:904–913PubMedGoogle Scholar
  101. Mottron L., Burack J. A., Stauder J. E. A., Robaey P., (1999). Perceptual processing among high-functioning persons with autism Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 40:203–211Google Scholar
  102. Mottron L., Burack J. A., (2001). Enhanced perceptual functioning in the development of autism In: Burack J. A., Charman T., Yirmiya N., Zelazo P. R., (eds.). The development of autism: Perspectives from theory and research NJ Lawrence ErlbaumGoogle Scholar
  103. Mottron L., Morasse K., Belleville S., (2001). A study of memory functioning in individuals with autism Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 42:253–260Google Scholar
  104. Mottron L., Peretz I., Menard E., (2000). Local and global processing of music in high-functioning persons with autism: Beyond central coherence? Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 41:1057–1065Google Scholar
  105. Navon D., (1977). Forest before trees: The precedence of global features in visual perception Cognitive Psychology 9:353–383Google Scholar
  106. Navon D., (2003). What does a compound letter tell the psychologist’s mind? Acta Psychologica 114:273–309PubMedGoogle Scholar
  107. Norbury C. F., Bishop D. M. V., (2002). Inferential processing and story recall in children with communication problems: A comparison of specific language impairment, pragmatic language impairment and high-functioning autism International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 37:227–251PubMedGoogle Scholar
  108. O’Riordan M. A., Plaisted K. C., Driver J., Baron-Cohen S., (2001). Superior visual search in autism Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance 27:719–730Google Scholar
  109. O’Loughlin C., Thagard P., (2000). Autism and coherence: A computational model Mind & Language 15:375–392Google Scholar
  110. Ozonoff S., Strayer D. L., McMahon W. M., Filloux F., (1994). Executive function abilities in autism and Tourette syndrome: An information processing approach Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 35:1015–1032PubMedGoogle Scholar
  111. Pellicano E., Gibson L., Maybery M., Durkin K., Badcock D. R., (2005). Abnormal global processing along the dorsal visual pathway in autism: A possible mechanism for weak visuospatial coherence? Neuropsychologia 43:1044–1053PubMedGoogle Scholar
  112. Pellicano, E., Maybery, M., & Durkin, K. (2005). Central coherence in typically developing preschoolers: Does it coherence and does it relate to mindreading and executive control? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 4:533–547Google Scholar
  113. Plaisted K. C., (2000). Aspects of autism that theory of mind cannot easily explain In: Baron-Cohen S., Tager-Flusberg H., Cohen D. J. (eds.). Understanding other minds: Perspectives from autism and cognitive neuroscience (2nd ed.). Oxford Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  114. Plaisted K. C., (2001). Reduced generalization in autism: An alternative to weak central coherence In: Burack J. A., Charman T., Yirmiya N., Zelazo P. R., (eds.). The development of autism: Perspectives from theory and research New Jersey Lawrence Erlbaum pp. 149–169Google Scholar
  115. Plaisted, K. C., O’Riordan, M. A. F., Aitken, M. R. F., Killcross, A. S. (submitted for publication). Catergorisation in autism: Evidence for a reduced prototype effectGoogle Scholar
  116. Plaisted K., O’Riordan M., Baron-Cohen S., (1998a). Enhanced visual search for a conjunctive target in autism: A research note Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 39:777–783Google Scholar
  117. Plaisted K., O’Riordan M., Baron-Cohen S., (1998b). Enhanced discrimination of novel, highly similar stimuli by adults with autism during a perceptual learning task Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 39:765–775Google Scholar
  118. Plaisted K., Saksida L., Alcantara J., Weisblatt E., (2003). Towards an understanding of the mechanisms of weak central coherence effects: Experiments in visual configural learning and auditory perception Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London—Series B: Biological Sciences 358:375–386PubMedGoogle Scholar
  119. Plaisted K., Swettenham J., Rees L., (1999). Children with autism show local precedence in a divided attention task and global precedence in a selective attention task Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 40:733–742PubMedGoogle Scholar
  120. Pring L. Hermelin B., (1993). Bottle, tulip and wineglass: Semantic and structural picture processing by savant artists Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 34:1365–1385Google Scholar
  121. Pring L., Hermelin B., Heavey L., (1995). Savants, segments, art and autism Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 36:1065–1076PubMedGoogle Scholar
  122. Rincover A., Koegel R. L., (1975). Setting generality and stimulus control in autistic children Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis 8:235–246Google Scholar
  123. Rinehart N. J., Bradshaw J. L., Moss S. A., Brereton A. V., Tonge B. J., (2000). Atypical interference of local detail on global processing in high-functioning autism and Asperger’s disorder Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 41:769–778Google Scholar
  124. Rinehart N. J., Bradshaw J. L., Moss S. A., Brereton A. V., Tonge B. J. (2001). A deficit in shifting attention present in high-functioning autism but not Asperger’s disorder Autism 5:67–80PubMedGoogle Scholar
  125. Ring H. A., Baron-Cohen S., Wheelwright S., Williams S. C., Brammer M., Andrew C., Bullmore E. T., (1999). Cerebral correlates of preserved cognitive skills in autism: A functional MRI study of embedded figures task performance Brain 122:1305–1315PubMedGoogle Scholar
  126. Robertson L. C., Lamb M. R., (1991). Neuropsychological contribution to theories of part/whole organization Cognitive Psychology 23:299–330PubMedGoogle Scholar
  127. Ronald, A., Happé, F., & Plomin, R. (2005). The genetic relationship between individual differences in social and nonsocial behaviours characteristic of autism. Developmental Science 8: 444–458PubMedGoogle Scholar
  128. Ropar D., Mitchell P., (1999). Are individuals with autism and Asperger’s syndrome susceptible to visual illusions? Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 40:1283–1293Google Scholar
  129. Ropar D., Mitchell P., (2001). Susceptibility to illusions and performance on visuospatial tasks in individuals with autism Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 42:539–549Google Scholar
  130. Rouse H., Donnelly N., Hadwin J. A., Brown T., (2004). Do children with autism perceive second-order relational features? The case of the Thatcher illusion Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 45:1246–1257Google Scholar
  131. Scheuffgen, K. (1998). Domain-general and domain-specific deficits in autism and dyslexia. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of LondonGoogle Scholar
  132. Scott, F. J., Brosnan, M. J., & Wheelwright, S. (submitted for publication). Perception of illusions by people with autism: Is there a low-level central coherence deficit?Google Scholar
  133. Shah A., Frith U., (1983). An islet of ability in autistic children: A research note Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 24:613–620PubMedGoogle Scholar
  134. Shah A., Frith U., (1993). Why do autistic individuals show superior performance on the Block Design task? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 34:1351–1364PubMedGoogle Scholar
  135. Snowling M., Frith U., (1986). Comprehension in ‘hyperlexic’ readers Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 42:392–415PubMedGoogle Scholar
  136. Spencer J., O’Brien J., Riggs K., Braddick O., Atkinson J., Wattam-Bell J., (2000). Motion processing in autism: Evidence for a dorsal stream deficiency Neuroreport 11:2765–2767PubMedGoogle Scholar
  137. Stiles-Davis J., Janowsky J., Engel M., Nass R., (1988). Drawing ability in four young children with congenital unilateral brain lesions Neuropsychologia 26:359–371PubMedGoogle Scholar
  138. Stoecker J. J., Colombo J., Frick J. E., Allen J. R., (1998). Long- and short-looking infants’ recognition of symmetrical and asymmetrical forms Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 71:63–78PubMedGoogle Scholar
  139. Suzuki S., Cavanagh P., (1995). Facial organization blocks access to low-level features: An object inferiority effect Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human perception and Performance 21:901–913Google Scholar
  140. Tager-Flusberg H., (1991). Semantic processing in the free recall of autistic children: Further evidence for a cognitive deficit British Journal of Developmental Psychology 9:417–430Google Scholar
  141. Teunisse J.-P., Cools A. R., van Spaendonck K. P. M., Aerts F. H., Berger H. J. (2001). Cognitive styles in high-functioning adolescents with autistic disorder Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 31:55–66PubMedGoogle Scholar
  142. Teunisse J. P., de Gelder B., (2003). Face processing in adolescents with autistic disorder: The inversion and composite effects Brain & Cognition 52:285–294Google Scholar
  143. Uhlhaas P. J., Silverstein S. M., Phillips W. A., Lovell P. G., (2004). Evidence for impaired visual context processing in schizotypy with thought disorder Schizophrenia Research 68:249–260PubMedGoogle Scholar
  144. Volberg G., Hubner R., (2004). On the role of response conflicts and stimulus position for hemispheric differences in global/local processing: An ERP study Neuropsychologia 42:1805–1813PubMedGoogle Scholar
  145. Waiter G. D., Williams J. H., Murray A. D., Gilchrist A., Perrett D. I., Whiten A., (2005). Structural white matter deficits in high-functioning individuals with autistic spectrum disorder: A voxel-based investigation Neuroimage 24:455–461PubMedGoogle Scholar
  146. Witkin H. A., Dyk R. B., Faterson H. F., Goodenough D. R., Karp S. K., (1962). Psychological differentiation New York WileyGoogle Scholar
  147. Witkin H. A., Goodenough D. R., (1981). Cognitive styles: Essence and origins New York International University PressGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of PsychiatryKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Institute of Cognitive NeuroscienceUniversity CollegeLondonUK
  3. 3.Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of PsychiatryKing’s College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations