Atypical Visual Orienting to Gaze- and Arrow-Cues in Adults with High Functioning Autism

  • Petra H. J. M. Vlamings
  • Johannes E. A. StauderEmail author
  • Ilona A. M. van  Son
  • and Laurent Mottron


The present study investigates visual orienting to directional cues (arrow or eyes) in adults with high functioning autism (= 19) and age matched controls (n = 19). A choice reaction time paradigm is used in which eye- or arrow direction correctly (congruent) or incorrectly (incongruent) cues target location. In typically developing participants, the visual orienting reflex is longer for eyes than for arrows. Right side cueing, but not left side cueing, induced a congruence effect for eyes, while this effect was evident for right as well as for left side arrow cues. In participants with autism the overall visual orienting reflex was not different between arrows and eyes and no laterality effect was found for eyes cueing. These findings suggest that, instead of a specific Eye Direction Detector persons with autism might have a general ‘Symbol Direction Detector’.


Eye Direction Detector; autism; visual orienting; reaction times; asymmetry 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petra H. J. M. Vlamings
    • 1
  • Johannes E. A. Stauder
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ilona A. M. van  Son
    • 1
  • and Laurent Mottron
    • 1
  1. 1.Biological Developmental Psychology Section, Faculty of PsychologyUniversiteit MaastrichtMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Clinique Specialisée de l’AutismeHôpital Rivières des PrairiesMontréalCanada

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