Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 532–538 | Cite as

Brief Report: Face Configuration Accuracy and Processing Speed Among Adults with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Susan Faja
  • Sara Jane Webb
  • Kristen Merkle
  • Elizabeth Aylward
  • Geraldine Dawson
Brief Report

Abstract

The present study investigates the accuracy and speed of face processing employed by high-functioning adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Two behavioral experiments measured sensitivity to distances between features and face recognition when performance depended on holistic versus featural information. Results suggest adults with ASD were less accurate, but responded as quickly as controls for both tasks. In contrast to previous findings with children, adults with ASD demonstrated a holistic advantage only when the eye region was tested. Both groups recognized large manipulations to second-order relations more accurately than no change or small changes, but controls responded more quickly than participants with ASD when recognizing these large manipulations to configural information.

Keywords

Social cognition Configural processing Holistic processing High functioning autism Asperger’s disorder 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by NIMH U54MH066399. The development of the MacBrain Face Stimulus Set was overseen by Nim Tottenham (tott0006@tc.umn.edu) and supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Early Experience and Brain Development. Special thanks are given to the individuals who participated and to the clinical core led by Dr. Jessica Greenson who conducted diagnostic testing. A poster with preliminary data from this study was presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research, Boston, MA, in May, 2005.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Faja
    • 1
  • Sara Jane Webb
    • 2
  • Kristen Merkle
    • 3
    • 4
  • Elizabeth Aylward
    • 5
  • Geraldine Dawson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Center on Human Development and DisabilityUniversity of Washington Autism CenterSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Center on Human Development and DisabilityUniversity of Washington Autism CenterSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Center on Human Development and DisabilityUniversity of Washington Autism CenterSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  5. 5.Department of Radiology, Center on Human Development and DisabilityUniversity of Washington Autism CenterSeattleUSA
  6. 6.Autism SpeaksNew YorkUSA

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